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October 31, 2012

Gush and Gripe #10


I skipped on the costume and parties this year but I made sure that I had enough candy to binge on thanks to my nephew, he was the perfect accessory to the crime.

I live in a small town so we went to a Trick or Treat event in the town square for the kids. 
Here's some of the highlights.


This Witch was outside the Mary Kay store.
I don't think this is the wisest mascot for a cosmetic boutique to have...


This Dude was HUGE and people were flocking to take pictures with him! 
His costume was the best one I've seen mainly because not a lot of grown ups dressed up for the occasion.


Here's my 5% of my nephew's loot: candy sticks and candy corn plus a pair of caramel cubes thrown in the mix. They also gave away a lot of popcorn bags and hotdogs for the grown-ups.  

So that's my night, I hope yours was more exciting than mine.
Stay safe guys!








A Halloween Treat from Michael Boccacino

Message from Michael Boccacino

Earlier this month, I asked readers and Twitter followers to vote on what they’d like me to post for Halloween… either a “Trick” or a “Treat”. The vote was unanimous, and so without further adieu is your Halloween “trick” — an epilogue to Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling entitled “Bedtime Stories”…
Read the short epilogue for Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling here.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Born in upstate New York and raised in central Florida, Michael blames his love of books on his father, who began reading him the Lord of the Rings trilogy when he was six, but stopped when he found out his son had snuck a VHS copy of the animated adaptation because he couldn’t wait to see how it ended. Eventually he learned enough patience to earn his BA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida and his MBA from Rollins College. In addition to writing, Michael likes to travel to far off places and pretend that he’s Indiana Jones, or experiment in the kitchen and convince others that he might not do so terribly on Iron Chef. He was quite possibly British in a past life, but he lives in and loves New York City.

Stalk Michael

Book Trailer Launch + Giveaway: Last Chance by Michelle Birbeck



I enjoyed book 1, The Last Keeper, of Michelle Birbeck's The Keeper Chronicles. Serenity Cardea's green eyes are as mesmerizing as her story and Michelle Birbeck's voice is very insightful and the character development, both main and secondary, were superb.  The Last Keeper is one of the most unique vampire hunter story I've ever read in a long time.


Big thanks to Michelle Birbeck, here's what we're giving away:

One winner will get all of these goodies
Paperback copies of The Last Keeper, Consequences and Isolation
Limited edition Last Keeper necklace
Mousemat (not included in the photo but it'll be included in the package)

Plus 5 more winners will win digital copies of The Last Keeper

This contest is open internationally
Fill out the rafflecopter form and you're good to go.

Good Luck!

October 30, 2012

Writer Wrangler: Shiloh Walker

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS | AMAZON


Talk Supe: How did the story for STOLEN start? 
Shiloh: Something I saw on Twitter... :) I can't remember her name, but an author had somebody pretending to be her, and bam, there was the idea.


Talk Supe: The story is about abuse and the repercussions of having such a violent and traumatic childhood and Shay's internal conversations were spot-on in my opinion. Did you interview people who went through similar experiences to flesh our Shay's character better? 
Shiloh: No... not exactly. I've read about abuse, I've talked with victims, although no relating to books for research.


Talk Supe: Which character and scene in STOLEN did you find the most difficult to write? 
Shiloh: The villain was hard to write. The hardest scene? The first few intimate scenes, because Shay had been through so much.


Talk Supe: People who are familiar with your work knows that it's always sexy, does writing those hot and steamy scenes get easier? 
Shiloh: I think I'm just inclined to write hot. It's something that just comes to me, so I can't really say it gets easier.


Talk Supe: You've established a "brand" as Shiloh Walker and usually your books are associated with something dark & sexy geared towards adult readers. Why choose a pseudonym instead of sticking with the more established "Shiloh Walker" name for your new UF series? 
Shiloh: There were a number of reasons. Most of it is business related-publishers do a lot of marketing for their writers and...um, well, when somebody writes like a hyperactive bunny, sometimes that complicates things. This was one way to simplify things.


Talk Supe Was it more challenging to write as J.C. Daniels vs. Shiloh Walker? 
Shiloh: Writing Blade Song wasn't hard. It's actually one of the easiest books I've ever written, because it wanted so badly to be written, it practically leaped out of my brain.

Talk Supe: Which of your characters/series is the closest to your heart? 
Shiloh: That changes from book to book, year to year. Right now, Blade Song and Wrecked (not out yet) are near and dear to my heart. But in a year or two, that just might change.

Talk Supe: Where is the weirdest place you've ever seen your book being sold? 
Shiloh: I don't typically see them at weird places...just in the typical bookstore, although I do dance on the rare occasion I get picked up by grocery stores. I did have a reader tell me that she saw my books at a drugstore in Canada. That was kinda cool.


TAKE YOUR PICK!
MADONNA OR LADY GAGA: Oh, Madonna. I'm a child of the 80s. No question.
P!NK OR MILEY CYRUS' BLOND MOHAWK: Um...I'm a child of the 80s. I barely know who Miley Cyrus is... lol.
KOURTNEY, KIM OR KHLOE KARDASHIAN: I couldn't tell you which one is which. I don't even know if I know what they look like. (lucky you!)
MOUNTAINS OR THE BEACH: Mountains.
BEER OR WINE: Wine.

Thanks, Shiloh for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.

STOLEN, the latest novel by Shiloh Walker is out today. Go get yourself a copy, it's worth every penny.
Read my STOLEN review here
Buy STOLEN from
 Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Indiebound


October 29, 2012

Girl Crush Mondays: Kiera Hudson

Kiera Hudson
20 years old
Slim and 5ft 9 inches tall
Eyes are very bright hazel
Black haired 
Born Havensfield, UK
Day job is a Police officer
She's a Half-breed (or half and half as they are sometimes known). Kiera is believed to be half human and half Vampyrus.

Special Abilities include seeing what others can’t. This is a physical power by being able to read clues at a crime scene without the aid of forensics. She also has heightened eyesight in the dark. She has wings (which are hidden, wrapped around her ribcage) so she can fly. She can leap, jump and run faster than humans. When changed into her vampyrus form, her usually black hair turns a blue. She bleeds from the eyes when seeing.


QUICK CHAT:
The best song to describe Potter: That’s a tough one. I think it would have to be Trouble by Leona Lewis.


One word to describe my life so far: Mmmm... Complex, I guess.

Human food you miss the most: Sweet black coffee and toast. (I remember this is your energy meal before you take your morning run)

What's the first thing you'll tell your mum when you see her again? I wish we could start over.

If you can have one "normal" thing in your life you can keep, what would it be and why? My iPod. I love listening to music. I couldn’t image a life where I couldn’t get away from all my worries without getting lost in some of my favourite songs. My iPod goes everywhere with me. (sigh! I lost mine a couple of weeks ago ;<)


Want to know more about Kiera? Her vampyre adventures are chronicled in these books
Kiera Hudson I
Kiera Hudson II
Kiera Hudson is one spectacular heroine, she's tough, smart, vulnerable and feminine. I call her a walking CSI because of her sight. Her series is one of the best self-published series I've ever read. I never tire of reading Kiera's epic adventures and Tim's momentum never wanes so I hope there's more Kiera books to come. 

Check out our Kiera Hudson reviews here.



Working away in the dead of night, Tim O'Rourke has written 14 novels, 9 of which have been number 1 bestsellers on Amazon and all have reached Top 10 positions on various Amazon book charts. His most recent book 'Cowgirls & Vampires' is now available to download from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. 


His bestselling book, 'Vampire Shift' Kiera Hudson Series One, has spent more than 15 weeks at number 1 on the Amazon.co.uk Children's Horror Chart. 

Tim's interests other than writing, include watching South Park, Vampire Diaries, True Blood and listening to Pitbull, LMFAO, Jennifer Lopez, David Guetta, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Adele. 

Tim lives in Buckinghamshire, England.

Stalk Tim
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Review + Giveaway: Dead Statues by Tim O'Rourke

Series: Kiera Hundson Two 3
Format: Digital
Excerpt here
Release Date: October 21, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble  

With the Skin-walkers closing in, Kiera and her friends flee across the English countryside. Learning Potter has been keeping secrets from her, Kiera makes the painful decision to split from the group and leave her friends behind to go in search of her father. Can Kiera reach him before she turns into a statue, like the ones that appear to be following her?

Desperate to win back Kiera’s trust, and fearing she is walking straight into a trap, Potter goes after her. But with a more desperate and cunning enemy anticipating Kiera’s and Potter’s every move, will Potter’s past secrets ultimately lead to the death of Kiera Hudson?

Dead Statues, the darkest and most disturbing adventure in Kiera Hudson Series Two.

I thought Kiera Hudson can't get any darker than Vampire Hollows. Apparently I'm wrong because like what Tim O'Rourke said (warned) on his note, DEAD STATUES might be short compared to its predecessors but it's the darkest and most emotional book so far in the series. And he didn't exaggerate.

This point in the story I thought I've read it all. I mean how much worse can things get? They've been pushed to another world, everything isn't what its supposed to be, werewolves are sort of ruling the town, moving statues, the dead lives and on top of that, someone or something is still trying to off Kiera and the gang. Well Mr. O'Rourke sure took a sharp left on this one as he reveals how much in deep sh*t Kiera, Potter and Kayla really are. It's like the ending of that movie Devil's Advocate where you realize it's this sick cycle of coercion and the wheels will keep on turning until Kiera makes her choice. The Elders really hit an all time low this time when they decided to play Kiera and Potter's emotions against them employing the age old strategy of divide and conquer to force Kiera to finally choose between humans and vampyres. This time around the Elders raised the stakes by making it personal. Very personal.
"Then turning his attention back at Sam, he added. “Did you sue him?”
“Sue who?” Sam asked confused.
“Your fucking hairdresser,” Potter grinned rolling up his sleeves, readying himself for the Skin-walkers who were growing ever nearer. “If I came out looking like you with hair and shit sprouting outta me, I’d be demanding a refund.”
And of course, this review will be incomplete if I don't talk about Potter. You know how much I love Sean Potter and his lines are killing me in this book! He might be too much and his words might not be choice cuts but man, they are funny! However his insensitivity finally caught up with him and seeing Potter all torn up and broken over Isidor and Kiera yanked my heartstrings. Potter is always acting macho and tears and heartfelt words aren't really his thing. He's more of the action-speaks-louder kind of guy so his heart to heart talk with Kayla spoke volumes and seeing this vulnerable side of him made me love him even more.

DEAD STATUES was emotionally packed and really the turning of point of Kiera Hudson II. The characters' trust and loyalties for each other is unraveling and everything is now on the tipping point. It can go either way and though Kiera and Potter's indomitable resolve is always reliable, their cunning adversaries in The Elders makes everything unpredictable. The ending was very typical of Tim: hair-pulling cliffhanger. Gah!



Thanks to Tim O'Rourke you can win a paperback copy of
DEAD STATUES
open internationally

Fill out the rafflecopter form to join.
See our giveaway policies for more details.

Good Luck!

October 28, 2012

Bought Borrowed and Bagged #26

BB&B (Bought, Borrowed and Bagged) is a weekly meme, inspired my The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie, where we share with you the books that we have bought, borrowed or bagged (won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and any news we want to share with our followers.

Cimmaron
Bought
from Amazon for $0.99
Braine
Bought
from Amazon for $0.99
Keep Me Safe & Trust In Me by Skye Warren

Bagged
for review
Dead Statues from Tim O'Rourke 
Damaged Goods by Alexandra Allred from The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Love is Darkness & Love is Fear (Valerie Dearborn 1& 2) from Caroline Hanson 
(thanks Michelle of Novels on the Run for the hook-up)
Forward Passes by Jami Davenport from I.O. Book Tours 

Line up for batch 1 of my Olde City New Blood Reading Challenge

from NetGalley & Edelweiss

won from Sharonda at Salacious Reads
 
Big & Small
chopped liver?
More photos here
You're all familiar with the infamous and resident Talk Supe Freak, Hannibal Lecter and NBC with Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Heroes) at the helm created a show based on the character from Thomas Harris' book series, Hannibal Lecter. The show is said to explore Hannibal's early days and how the brilliant psychiatrist became one of the most notorious serial killer the world has ever known. Hannibal The Beginning stars Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishbourne and Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter.

You know me, I love blood, gore and all the crazy that goes with it (except for zombies). This is definitely on my to-watch list. - Braine


I read the Life of Pi a few years ago after some friends recommended I read this amazon book. I should have known I wouldn't love it because I don't really do philosophical reads. All the symbolism with the animals and sprirituality bored me to death. The whole time I wished all the animals would have started singing "I like to move it, move it" like the lemurs in the movie, Madagascar.

Although I didn't enjoy is like some of my friends I really am looking forward to the film adaptation. It seems like Ang Lee has created a visually stunning film and I'm totally drawn to all the beautiful colors. Life of Pi hits theaters November 21st  - Cimmaron

Last Week's Reviews

Ongoing Events

Spooktakular Giveaway Hop (US Only)
2 prize packs, YA & Adult, up for grabs
ends October 31

Wicked After Dark Halloween Giveaway (INTL)
Win ICED by Karen Marie Moning
ebook or print
ends November 1



Check out these other fabulous blogs that participate in 
Bought, Borrowed & Bagged:
NOTE: Future participants, please use your BB&B LABEL LINK instead of the individual post link.




October 26, 2012

Review: Hot Secrets by Lisa Renee Jones

Series: Tall, Dark & Deadly 1
Format: Digital
Excerpt here
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon 

The Walker Brothers
Tall, dark, and deadly, these three brothers run Walker security. Each brother is unique in his methods and skills, but all share key similarities. They are passionate about those they love, relentless when fighting for a cause they believe in, and all believe that no case is too hard, no danger too dark. Dedication is what they deliver, results are their reward.

HOT SECRETS

Royce Walker, a former FBI Agent, who’s opened a private security firm with his brothers, has always had the hots for the prim, proper Assistant District Attorney, but considered her hand’s off because of a family connection. However, when danger threatens Lauren, he isn’t willing to stand by and watch her get hurt. Now the passion for survival is only rivaled by the passion burning between them. And that passion, might just be the death of them both.
HOT SECRETS by Lisa Renee Jones was a big leap from it's sultry prequel, Secrets Exposed. Book 1 of LRJones Tall, Dark & Deadly series about the handsome and drool worthy Walker Brothers was straightforward and designed to turn up the heat and melt any hesitations you might have. These Walker Brothers mean business, on and off the bedroom, and any girl would be a fool in saying NO to these Brothers. Hell if Royce Walker is the first course, I think I might need Tums for Luke and Blake's story because I swear I will ravish their stories like a glutton!

The story is very simple, you have a tough prosecutor in Lauren Reynolds, New York's Assistant District Attorney who is incidentally the daughter of a State Senator. Being tough on criminals, Lauren has a stable of people who are not big fans of her work. Working on her latest and very controversial case about a woman poisoning her abusive husband has put Lauren in the spotlight and many newspapers. But aside from the media coverage she's getting, one person in particular ins't happy about her efficiency in litigating the case. Lauren is being terrorized by someone and it is now up to Royce Walker to keep her safe and discover the identity of her attacker.
"You're...""What?" he asked, feeling a gnawing in his gut. "I'm what?"
"Everything I want to be and I'm afraid I might never be," she whispered softly
LRJones didn't mince words in HOT SECRETS, right off the bat we know what Lauren and Royce wants and it'll take a legion to stop these two from coming together (pun intended!) and fall in love. I like Lauren Reynolds, she's tough and feminine in all the right places even on those moments when Royce was being all authoritative on her. But the real meat of the story lies in the big sexy, grizzly alpha of a man that is Royce Walker, State Security Adviser and part owner of a private security company he runs with his other sexy brothers, Luke and Blake. Like any typical alpha male, Royce is magnetic, daring, overbearing and oh, so passionate. He'll fire up your imagination and make you want to do things that would normally make you blush but feels so right in his company. These two fill the mold of an arresting romantic couple perfectly and their sexually charged courtship will have you fanning yourself.
I don't know if three condoms are going to be enough. We might need a store run because if you think I even came close to getting enough of you, you're wrong. - Royce Walker
LRJones did a great job in creating her characters succinctly, in the first quarter of HOT SECRETS we have a clear idea of who and what Lauren and Royce is about and the different factions of their life. The conflict wasn't complicated and a little predictable as LRJones dropped hints along the way, but the things that led up to it were hairy and alarming. Nevertheless, Lauren and Royce's story is rousing and sexually charged to the nth degree, some might think its formula and even if it is, LRJones followed said formula to the letter and it resulted to several heart-stopping moments guaranteed to fire up your imagination.




October 25, 2012

Review: Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Hardcover
Excerpt here
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Purchase:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

WHERE WE BELONG by Emily Giffin is a book for the future. I mean literally. It's actually funny but I think both EGiffin and her editor missed one detail and skewed the timestamps. Marian supposedly conceived Kirby in the Summer of 1995 and as this book was released this year, 2012, Kirby should only be 16 and not 18. But by 2014, it should all make sense. I actually find this small error funny when EGiffin addressed it in her Acknowledgements:
With respect to one edit I couldn't fix: Kirby was conceived in 1995 during the famous Chicago heat wave, yet is now eighteed. Just read the book again in two years, and we'll be straight. - Emily Giffin
Going back to the story, WHERE WE BELONG is a little more serious than her Rachel and Darcy books (Something Borrowed, Something Blue) and is similar to Love The One You're With in terms of emotional intensity and subject matter. WHERE WE BELONG is a poignant and heartfelt story about family, mistakes, love and the diverse relationship between mother and daughter. I found myself tearing up on several parts because I connected with the story personally because like Marian Caldwell, I had my son when I was eighteen and though I didn't give him up for adoption, reading her story brought back a lot of memories for me. I remember all too well that feeling of shame for disappointing my parents; fear because I know I'm not ready to be a parent but I have to grow up and take responsibility; feeling so confused when the fight-or-flight reflex kicked in. A little overwhelming for an 18 year-old. 

From my perspective I feel like Marian Caldwell was the anti-hero in the story. Sure she had good intentions but when her past caught up with her, her mistake blew up in her face. Not in a supernova kind of way but it sure did change a lot of her relationships especially with those people she's most keen on. Marian might be the epitome of success but it sure took its toll on her personal life. In a way I feel for her too, there's really nothing much she can do about her past except apologize and be comforted in the fact that things did turn out well for her and Kirby. 
The catch of your life is not the same thing as the love of your life. Be careful of that subtle but rather crucial distinction. - Jess, Marian's friend
Kirby Rose was a wonderful character. She's was just right and not an exaggeration of a teen feeling angsty and searching for something. She acknowledged that she has a journey that she needs to take and though she was feeling scared and apprehensive, she did it with admirable grace. Her emotions were well fleshed out and she has a feeling of self awareness which were evident on those parts where she was reconciling her relationships with her adoptive parents and Marian. She was angry, happy, worried, rebellious, and hopeful on all the right places, she's glued the story perfectly. 

To be honest, what I really wanted to read was Marian and Conrad Knight's, Kirby's biological dad, Summer love story. It was brief and fleeting but it was real and heartfelt. I found myself feeling flushed and giddy over this secret love affair between these two teenagers I wish EGiffin would write a novella about it. Conrad's character was superb and you can really visualize how romantic and artsy he is which made me yearn to read more of his character. I hope I'm not alone is asking EGiffin to give Conrad his own story, he's my new book boyfriend!
I've often let my goals supersede the journey--and the love of what I'm doing. A constant battle to stay in control, get to the next level, ensure that my life stays perfectly, carefully scripted. - Marian
I have several favorite parts in this book aside from Marian's Summer of 1995 flashbacks with Conrad. I almost started weeping when Marian and her father finally had a heart-to-heart conversation and all the hurt and worry of keeping Kirby a secret was finally released giving both of them full closure. Next was Kirby and Conrad singing Pearl Jam's Elederly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, which, by the way, is the perfect theme song for this book. This is the part where the puzzle was finally complete as far as Kirby's search is concerned. She finally found her people and everything is in place.



I've read several comments about the ending and how it felt incomplete and in need of an epilogue or something. IMHO, it didn't give Conrad closure but it book ended Marian's story. To reiterate I see her an the "anti-hero" who followed her head and not her heart at the expense of Conrad. And though I agree with the choices she made, there's a price to pay and one of those were her relationships, past, present and future, with Conrad. Marian found something in the end she didn't even know she was looking for and though she probably wants to rekindle something with Conrad, I feel like that boat has already sailed, it might not be romantic but it was right. I think some readers wanted them to get back together but I think Conrad was too hurt and felt very betrayed by a lot of things Marian did in the past. Whatever relationship they had was fractured and though they have Kirby between them, it's not enough to restart something. So I think it was a fair and justified ending.

WHERE WE BELONG is a wonderful story and if you're an Emily Giffin or a Sophie Kinsella fan, I suggest you read this one.