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July 31, 2012

Gush and Gripe #7



From YA to Erotica
Aside from the Summer Olympics and all those amazing demi-gods competing for the medals and making and breaking world records, I am extra Gushing about Andrea Cremer's yet to be titled erotica trilogy set in the Nightshade world. I had to do a double take if it's the same Andrea Cremer who brought us the same YA Nightshade series about a group of teen werewolves and witches and apparently I read it right.

This is such a big leap from cute, bubble gum teen drama to heavy and emotional adult read. However I am very confident that Ms. Cremer can pull it off because despite Nightshade being YA, it was rich with emotions and was a tad more mature emotionally than its contemporaries. That said, I can rest easy knowing that this erotica series won't disappoint.

Andrea Cremer's erotica trilogy will be published under Penguin USA's Dutton imprint. The first book in the series scheduled for release in October 2013 is reportedly about the lives, passions, and betrayals of lovers whose very desires invite their dooms". Read more here.


Reading without Comprehending
Now on to my Gripes, early this month there's been a lot of drama going on between writers and bloggers to the point where it became a VERSUS rather than AND. Author-blogger relationship is volatile to begin with but events of late propelled it into a soap box that made a lot of notable people sound off including Stacia Kane and her friend, Auntie Specialsnowflake. It is a known fact that we do not like the same things and even if we like the same book, we still have different opinions about the plot, our favorites scenes and other nuances that resonated with us. But this is not enough reason to launch this pathetic cyber war that blighted writer-reader relationships.

Throughout the heated back and forth between various groups, I was thinking what some of these people are reading that made them turn into idiots. Isn't reading supposed to make people SMART? Whatever happened to reading AND comprehending? In defense to bloggers like myself, Jennifer of The Bawdy Book Blog wrote a very good letter that I think reflects my thoughts perfectly about bad author behavior and book review requests, and I quote.
- we are not a media outlet whom you can take advantage.  We are not here for YOU.  We are here for US.  We blog about books to share our love of reading and to spread that love amongst each other.  Promoting you is purely a side benefit you reap – and us, too, if we enjoyed your book.  I know it’s irritating that you sent your book to someone months ago, and they still haven’t reviewed it.  I have dozens in my to-be-read pile that fit this bill and I feel the weight on my shoulders a little every day.  But I’m a mood reader.  That is to say, I read based on how I’m feeling at a given moment.  I would rather read your book months  – years – later, if it means I’ll enjoy it more and be able to give you a better review.
But in defense to Indie authors in general, it is a shame that they got clumped together with someone who's a nobody motivated by getting his 15 minutes. We here in Talk Supe have been very FORTUNATE to have worked with very cool, understanding and supportive Indie authors and I think it's unfair to clump them all together and label then "unprofessional" because of a select group of people who don't know better. Bad behavior is not exclusive to self-published writers, I have seen popular writers under big publishing houses with million dollar contracts and deals exhibit attitude that will make their publicists' hair turn grey. Bottom line is, everyone has an opinion and if you're brave enough to put yourself and your work out there and bask in accolades, you should also brace yourself for the inevitable poor reviews. If you're not ready to be scrutinized then don't make your work public.

I know this is not the end of this and I'm pretty sure something and someone will blow up the blogosphere soon but until the next controversy, let's all remind ourselves that it's always wise to practice restraint whether we're gushing or griping.

July 30, 2012

Review: Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Series: Darkest London 2
Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Once the seeds of desire are sown 
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors .Their growing passion knows no boundsIan Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

It's been some time since I truly enjoyed a solid historical romance, MOONGLOW by Kristen Callihan was a good reminder why I used to pull all-nighters, fantasizing about nobility and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it. The second installment to her Darkest London series, MOONGLOW is everything you want and more in a historical romance, full of fluff, lively banter, wrong assumptions and a joyous happily ever after that will sweep you off your feet. 
"Did ye fear I'd lose me pretty face?" he said, drawing out his brogue as though he knew she liked to hear it.

"Of course" She nudged his ribs with her fist. "What else is there to admire about you?"
First off all, how awkward is it to have a thing with a man who used to like your sister? I can imagine Daisy Ellis Craigmore's confidence level wither knowing that the impressive Marquis used to have a thing for her sister, Miranda. So naturally I was a little iffy with their pairing at first because of this but soon enough all my doubts ebbed and I found myself falling in love with Ian and Daisy. Besides, it's really easy to love Daisy, she's a sweet and exceptional girl who has amazing olfactory nerves on top of having Earth Goddess superpowers. However Daisy's experience with love and marriage was far from balmy, she was an emotionally battered wife and it's no surprise that underneath all that witty demeanor lies a lot of pain and self doubt.

However I think that MOONGLOW was more Ian's story than Daisy's, I honestly despised this man in Firelight but after reading this, I take back every damning thought I had about Ian. A tortured soul, a reluctant hero with a heartrending past, and everything damaged and delicious that one looks for in a book hero, Ian Ranulf has that and probably more. Ian's back story is heartrending and at first his desperation was funny but as KCallihan tells us more about his tragic past, it ceased to be comedic and became this sob story I wouldn't wish even on my worst enemy. But it was also this big and painful gaping hole in Ian's heart that made him capable of giving so much love and attention to Daisy. Nevertheless I still think Ian is a rogue but now he's the type you'll want for keeps.
I don't want perfect. I just want you...I feel free when I am with you. Happy. You are the gift I never saw coming.
My heart went out to these two, they are another example of two broken people made whole by love and reading their courtship and love story unfold gave me butterflies in my belly. Daisy and Ian were faced with difficult decisions and even if they had their HEA, it was far from easy nor was it pain free. I think part of their souls died when they finally faced their antagonists and I honestly felt gutted on their behalf as KCallihan was merciless in giving these two anguish, she really made Ian and Daisy work for their deliverance and eventual bliss. And like any great historical romance, Daisy and Ian did their share of denying, hating, mocking, loving and sizzling love making.  So if you think Firelight was romantic, wait till you read MOONGLOW. 


July 29, 2012

NetGalley Knockout

Like most bibliophile who have discovered NetGalley and Edelweiss, I did my share of hoarding. Like Gretel when she saw the Gingerbread House for the first time on an empty stomach, I gorged myself on countless books as if Armageddon is right around the corner, propelling my TBR list to reach fevered heights. 

So I signed up for NetGalley Knockout hosted by Christen of Goldilox and the Three Weres. Hopefully this challenge will keep me motivated. Wish me luck!

Here's what I plan to knock out:

EARLY REVIEWS
  1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
  2. Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
  3. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
  4. If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
  5. Blades of Winter by G.T. Almasi
  6. Hidden Paradise by Janet Mullany
  7. Defiance by C.J. Redwine
  8. Kiss of Steel by Beth McMaster
  9. Charming Blue by Kristine Greyson
  10. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
  11. Lifestyle of the Rich and the Undead by Katie McAllister
  12. Blackwood by Glenda Bond


OLD GALLEYS

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged #13

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
All titles are priced at $2.99 each!

Bagged
from St. Martin's Press (Won from NetGalley)

ARCs from NetGalley

Braine
Bought
Because I'm obsessed.
Borrowed
from the Public Library
Top to Bottom: The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper, Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
Bagged
from NetGalley & Edeweiss

Upcoming Reviews
  • Red by Serine Kate
  • Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine
  • Try My by Olivia Cunning
  • Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning

Last Week's Reviews

Check out Lauren and Nia's BB&B at 


Check out Chrystina's BB&B at

July 28, 2012

Early Review: Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway

Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a writing career that’s gotten about as far as penning an online lawn care advice column, and a small hometown in Oregon that’s her last recourse if she can’t make next month’s rent.      So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. Not only is she being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women, but she’s also sharing office space with “Secret Agent Romance,” Charm’s resident dating columnist, and he just happens to be giving her butterflies. As Dawn gets to know the life stories of these former winners, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. And even more importantly, she’ll find that though those who have gone before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to carve our own way.  
I love women's literature because the stories are often inspiring regardless if its fiction. I love stories that mirror my journey and sometimes I find strength in a simple phrase or word and next thing I know, it becomes an anthem of sorts. Fueling my drive to become a better version of myself, a reminder that I can be great and that I possess the tenacity to get go through any hurdle in life. TEN GIRLS TO WATCH by Charity Shumway is a good example of this, Dawn West's promise for bravery was very authentic and something that will surely resonate with a lot of readers like me. 
This year, you'll do brave things. I didn't quite know how, or what that would entail, but I said it again, a little vow: Dawn West, you will be brave.
Dawn West is an average but hardworking girl, nothing really special about her except for her drive and open mindedness. This part in Dawn's life was bumpy, she got dumped, went through a friendship break up, got dumped again via a magazine article, lost her apartment and worldly possessions in a fire, a big series of unprecedented loss doused with buckets of bitter tears. Dawn struggled and that struggle had a big splash of self-doubt and false hopes and how Dawn dealt with it was very realistic and heartfelt, she is not your conventional heroine but it's her resilience that won me over.  
Slowly, I began to feel worst of all about the fact that Elliot was what broke me down. Not my apartment building burning. Not the evisceration of my every worldly possession. A man, one I'd barely known at the end of the day. I was down here crying over him. I was down here feeling hopelessly flawed because this stranger didn't love me.
TEN GIRLS TO WATCH by CShumway is a very honest story about little girls having and fulfilling big dreams. Her heroine didn't have it easy whether it's in love, relationships or career, Dawn worked for it, risking and losing a lot of things to make way for something bigger and better in her life. I loved the sisterhood illustrated in the story, I am used to cattiness and misplaced competitiveness between the women in books that I read and I find it a breath of fresh air that here, I only found support and love. What I liked best was the message CShumway was trying to impart: happiness doesn't lie with something or someone, it is in ourselves therefore we can control it. TEN GIRLS TO WATCH was a straightforward story about a woman's journey in finding herself and realizing there is more than one way of realizing one's dream, we just have to want it enough to have it.




July 26, 2012

Loved It: Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

Series: Geekomancy 1
Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Excerpt here
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Ree Reyes’ life was easier when she just had to worry about scraping together tips from her gig as a barista-and-comicshop slave wage in the port city of Pearson to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic ‘BOOM!’ echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole into Pearson’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves and Elegant Gothic Lolita fate witches by channeling genre tropes and wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka scruffy guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to avoid imploding after her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard-armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?
Geekomancers - humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

I want to be a Geekomancer!

Imagine absorbing your favorite hero's abilties for a day whether its super strength, mad skills with a light saber or Sherlock Holmes' super logic, it's way better than taking that Limitless pill if you ask me. Reading GEEKOMANCY by Michael R. Underwood sure had me fantasizing about having superpowers like flying, telekinesis, telepathy, etc. I'm pretty sure I had a glazed look on my face while reading this bad boy.

Rihannon Anna Maria Reyes or Ree (Strength 14, Dexterity 11, Stamina 15, Will 15, IQ 16, and Charisma 14 -- Geek 6/ Barista 3/ Screenwriter 2/ Gamer Girl 2) is an average girl who has a passion for coffee, Aliens and Zork. She is every fanboy's dream girl and even if my Geek is close to zero, I didn't find it hard to love Ree. She's loyal to her friends, loves her Dad very much, a black belt in Taekwondo and Hapkido, and never had illusions of grandeur much less save mankind from an evil entity, she to me was the perfect unassuming heroine. As a kick ass Geekomancer channeling Wonder Woman and Sherlock Holmes for starters, I can't help but envy her! It sure brought back memories of those early evenings with Linda Carter and her golden lasso, I too wanted to be a Princess when I was a kid but I always wanted to be an Amazonian royal than a fairy tale one. Thanks to Ree, I was again able to live that fantasy vicariously through her.

So why don't you just carry copies of Superman around and channel
 Kryptonian badassery all the time?

I loved GEEKOMANCY with the plot blending fantasy and comedy in equal parts, it surely stimulated my imagination and other latent ponderings of becoming a superhero with bad ass superpowers. Even the conflict-resolution was in true form very "fan story" (told you my Geek is nil but I have to try) as it was this big moral dilemma every hero with great powers and even greater responsibilities deal with and Ree was no exception. So behind all that fun and games was an evil villain, his conniving sidekick, a clever conspiracy/manipulation plot with Ree in the helm teetering on saving the day or sending the world to a dark abyss. In the end GEEKOMANCY will make your jaw hang in frustration and your head spin in amazement for MRUnderwood.

She screamed with all the pain of losing her mother just when she needed her most, the pain of watching her father struggle, the pain of families broken by lives ended too early -- but she also screamed with hope, with her dreams, with the lives she needed to protect, even the ones she'd never asked to be involved with.

GEEKOMANCY was such an adventure to read I felt like I took a virtual pilgrimage to ComicCon. And the story is not limited to the fanboy/fangirl but it appeals to every reader of fiction. We've all dreamed about getting warped into these worlds we read and talk about and MRUnderwood gave us that avenue to make those fantasies come true. In the world he created, you can be whoever and whatever you want to be as long as you put your heart and mind to it, very Stan Lee if you ask me. But don't take my word for it, read an excerpt and you'll understand why.


July 24, 2012

Review: Charlotte Markham and The House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino

Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Release Date: July 24, 2012

Excerpt here
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Debut novelist Michael Boccacino invites readers into the world beyond the realm of the living in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, a Victorian gothic tale of the strange and supernatural. But all who enter this house must beware--for there is a price to pay for visitors who wish to save those they love.

The story of a British governess and her young charges seduced by the otherworldly enticements of a mysterious mansion in the forest following the inexplicable death of the former nanny, this Tim Burton-like tale of dark fantasy is a bewitching treat for fans of horror and paranormal fiction, as well as readers who love creepy gothic tales and mysterious shadowy English manor houses. Not since Suzanna Clarke introduced Jonathan Strange to Mr. Norrell, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline crawled through a secret door into a twisted and sinister mirror world, has there been a journey as wondrously fantastic and terrifying as Charlotte Markham's adventures in the House of Darkling.
I have to agree that CHARLOTTE MARKHAM AND THE HOUSE OF DARKLING by Michael Boccacino felt Tim Burton-ish, a little Coraline, in that there's a parallel and morbid universe existing side by side ours. You have a pair of orphan kids and their nanny stumbling upon the magnificent House of Darkling where they can reclaim lost time with the children's departed mother without any seemingly serious repercussions.

The House of Darkling is like a big cabinet of curiosities, it can be whatever you choose to make it, it is full of oddities and marvels, some of them trinkets and some of them more... useful, as Mr. Whatley, the Master of the house, points out to Charlotte. There is a very seductive allure to The House, here you can be reunited with your loved ones without consequence, visit with them then go back home after a day of fun and games, it's like your loved ones never passed away. The challenge is severing that connection, moving on, processing grief and accepting that these people are dead and can't go back to our world, the world of the living. I think I too would find it hard to give up the place because I have the comfort of being reunited with the dearly departed and behave as if none of it happened. And here is where the widow Charlotte's dilemma lies, the House of Darkling offers this wonderful balm to their grieving souls but how does one give it up? In the end, will they choose the living, go back to the depressing state of brokenhearted longing or stay with the dead and be at peace?
I felt it all slipping away -- the storybook ending, my future with the children, Henry's happiness, Lily's redemption, my victory over Whatley -- the pieces were slipping out of place.
The only thing that left me wanting was the villain. I love rabid villains, they add depth to the heroes and to me, the "dark" part of the story felt "dusky" because the villain wasn't as foreboding as I expected it to be. The antagonist was more of an apparition than a constant threat to Charlotte so I didn't really feel the danger and the urgency of the conflict. There is a twist in the end which probably justifies the duskiness but for a minute there I wanted to be scared and threatened.

CHARLOTTE MARKHAM AND THE HOUSE OF DARKLINGis a great debut novel, the plot follows a concrete progression that kept me anxious on how Charlotte will manage to fulfill her job in keeping her charges, James and Paul, safe. I love the short stories that MBoccacino incorporated into the story to emphasize the precarious situation Charlotte and the children found themselves in.This dark Victorian Gothic tale was a pleasing historical fantasy with curious characters and even curiouser otherworldly creatures, MBoccacino created a premise one can't help but discover.




July 23, 2012

Girl Crush Mondays: Katy Perry


Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson

Scorpio
Perry is her mom's maiden name
Christian
besties with actress Shannon Woodward and RnB popstar Rihanna.
The world fell in love with her when she released
I KISSED A GIRL in 2008 
and since then her songs have been Billboard mainstays.


A chameleon, her ever changing looks doesn't deter from her talent and sex appeal. Whether dressed in old Hollywood screen siren or full on performance costume, Katy Perry still manages to make it look fun and sexy.

So it's no surprise that she's #4 in Maxim's Hot 100 for 2012
sandwiched between Talk Supe Girl Crushes #3 Mila Kunis and #5 Olivia Wilde.



July 20, 2012

Guest Blogger: Addicted to Heroines

This month's guest bloggers are the 
badass ladies of

We already know they love kick ass chicks so to switch things up a bit, we asked them who their favorite villains are. 


Jamie's picks


Otto Sanchez from Carolyn Crane's Disillusionists Trilogy
Slight spoilers

From the moment I was first introduced to Otto Sanchez, I knew that he would be one of my most hated villains ever!  There are few characters that I like less that this guy.  With his douche-y beret, mustache and all-too-important demeanor, I was shocked to see that even Justine liked Otto, let alone wanted to have sex with him!  Justine inexplicably had the hots for Otto from the introduction of his character.  I mean, who wouldn't want a beret-wearing, arrogant hypochondriac to knock boots with?   And why does he wear a beret, you ask?  Because he is a hypochondriac, fearing that he has a vein star that is about to explode in his head, therefore, it only makes sense to protect his head with a beret!  Right?  Riiiiiigggght....

Our first glimpse of Otto comes in the book, Mind Games:
"Chief Otto Sanchez, a.k.a. the Engineer, turns his dark, generous features to me.  His elegant tuxedo matches his large velvet cap - a sort of oversized beret that should look wrong on a man.  It doesn't look wrong on him."
Seriously, Justine?  A beret paired with a tuxedo doesn't look "wrong" to you?

And let's think back on what Otto has done.  Before Justine even enters the picture, Otto has used his "gift" to lock our hero Packard into a restaurant for years.  He's on the police force, and later a mayor, yet he has locked away people he has judged to be dangerous.  Packard isn't the only one.  Otto goes around half-cocked (hee!  hee!) locking up anyone whom he deems a danger to society.  Or is it just a danger to him?

In the second book in this series, Double Cross, Otto crosses the line from being a character that I just don't like into one that I despise.  His hold on Justine is sickening.  I don't know why she thinks so much of him, because I clearly cannot see it.  Otto knows that Packard is his competition - it has been this way since they were boys.  Otto also knows that the only way he can win Justine's heart is by playing dirty.  And by dirty, I mean revolting and despicable.  He does one of the worst things I could ever imagine one character doing to another.  He doesn't physically rape Justine, but the effect is similar.  Not only does Otto commit a heinous crime, but he does so with the full knowledge that Justine doesn't love him - she loves another man.  In my original abbreviated review of the end of this book, this is what I wrote:
"Oh, no, no, no. no! This didn't happen! It can't!! He couldn't. No!"
In the third and final installment of this trilogy, Head Rush, Otto is just as disgusting as he was in the first two books.  In Head Rush, Justine is still stuck in the mental mire with Otto.  She is planning a wedding to a man she doesn't seem to want to be around.  She can't figure out why her connection with Otto is so strained.  See, Otto only really wants Justine because he feels that she calms his fears about his vein star hypochondria.  In the end, it's all about Otto, the beret-wearing fool!  There is some scene of redemption for the awful things Otto has done, but I still hate him!  There was very little the talented Ms. Crane could have done to make me forgive Otto of his indiscretions.

This is why Otto is my number one most hated villain!


Kiyo from Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series
Contains some spoilers

When we meet Kiyo in this series, we are introduced to a dark, sexy and mysterious man who seems to be innocently having a drink the same bar that the heroine, Eugenie, happens to be patronizing.  Kiyo and Eugenie begin a conversation and hit it off immediately.  They go back to her hotel room for some naughtiness.  It is immediate to me that Kiyo is a bad dude.  Not only did he run away from Eugenie during an ice elemental's attack the next morning, but he purposely scratched her back, which has consequences later in the story.  I didn't like Kiyo from the first time that we see him.  I don't like what he does to Eugenie mentally (not that she's one of my favorite characters).  She is consumed by thoughts of Kiyo and seemingly falls into head-over-heels in lust for him.  We learn soon enough that Kiyo is actually a shapeshifting fox.  Enter his nickname:  Fox face.  I think part of my problem with Fox face is that when he is put up next to the fairy king, Dorian, there is no comparison.  By the end of Storm Born, Kiyo has pledged his undying love and lust for the charming Eugenie (gag!).  He only gets worse as the series progresses.

By Thorn Queen, Kiyo has become rather judgmental of Eugenie.  Eugenie is trying to learn how to use her new found powers, yet Kiyo discourages her.  Kiyo continually cuts Eugenie down, and offers no support to the struggling Eugenie.  Kiyo also expects Eugenie to be okay with all the time he is spending with his fairy queen, ex-girlfriend Maiwenn who just so happens to be pregnant with his baby.  Hello, fox face?  Are you for real?  Eugenie is supposed to accept that you're spending all this time with your ex, while at the same time giving Eugenie shit for learning more about herself?  Puh-leeze!  And the best part is that Kiyo never fully explains his relationship with his ex or what his current relationship is with her.  Then to top it all off, Kiyo puts the pressure on Eugenie to play nice with Maiwenn.  He wants Eugenie to be calm and friendly, no matter what that bitch Maiwenn has planning for her.

As much as I liked the ending of Thorn Queen, the story line in the third book in this series, Iron Crowned becomes more convoluted and angsty.  By this book, Kiyo and Eugenie are on rocky terms.  They end up working together, yet Eugenie must prove herself over and over again to the fox face.  Eugenie is still attracted to Kiyo and there is an event that makes me dislike Eugenie almost as much as I hate Kiyo.  Kiyo sniffs around Eugenie like he's a dog in heat, and it was disgusting for me to read about.  Eugenie is a pain, though, too.  No matter what she does, whether it's right or wrong, she has this grand plan in her head about rationalizing all of her actions, no matter what she's done.  At every point in this series, Kiyo has let Eugenie down.  He has cut her down when she tried to improve herself, he guilts her into being nice to his ex, and he makes her prove her worth and loyalty time and time again.  Talk about an unhealthy relationship!  Then at the end of this book, we read a cliff hanging shocker.  Not only is Kiyo still absolutely, 100 % loyal to his bitch ex-girlfriend Maiwenn, but he's out to truly harm Eugenie because of that loyalty.  He pressures Eugenie into doing something that goes against everything she stands for and believes.  This is where Kiyo becomes on of my most hated villains of all time.

Moving on to the last book in this series, Shadow Heir, I was seething in my distaste for Kiyo, not to mention Eugenie's lack of a brain.  Eugenie is moving around back in the human world from place to place to avoid being captured by the murderous team of Kiyo and Maiwenn.  When all of the fairy royalty are pulled into a mysterious disaster concerning the livliehood of the fae world, Eugenie must once again work with fox face.  While Kiyo still wants to cause bodily harm to Eugenie, they have called a truce.  And my sweet King Dorian is there, showing how supportive he is while fox face continues to try to talk Eugenie into a vile action.  When it's all said and done, Eugenie makes a very bad decision in regards to Dorian, yet he never knows about it (which irritates me to no end).  And the murderous Kiyo has pledged to doggedly follows Eugenie and her family forever, so that they are never safe and always looking over their shoulders.  So in conclusion, Kiyo ends up as a rat bastard that should have been killed early on in this series.  Shout out to Team Dorian!

Cat's picks


Calvin Malone from Rachel Vincent's Shifter series
 "We were ready. Vengeance was overdue."
The villain who was so heartless, devious, and so well-written that I could occasionally forget that he was a fictional character. I wanted a number to call, an address to go to, so that I could visit that a**hole and give him a piece of my mind.

His only concerns were having power and authority and he used anyone in any way he could to ensure that his goals were met. He was also a master manipulator and left the real dirty work to others who would do it for him.
"Are we children, playing this blame game?" My father finally rose from his chair, and Blackwell had to look up to meet his fury. "Are you so focused on who's at fault that you can't see the larger picture? Calvin Malone is out of control, and if the council can't rein him in, we will."
Throughout the entire series he makes life a living hell for the Sanders family and my skin still crawls just thinking about him.


The Sinsar Dubh Karen Marie Moning's Fever series
"I saw the Sinsar Dubh tonight. I know what I'm afraid of."
Karen Marie Moning is a pro when it comes to creating compelling characters and gripping storylines. And her talent when it comes to creating villains is no exception.

She has managed to take an inanimate object, a book, and make it into one of the scariest, most dangerous villains in urban fantasy. The elusive, mysterious, two-steps-ahead-of-you ancient tome filled with the darkest magic imaginable, is rumored to have the ability to remake your past, create a new world, or even bring back the dead. It's the "bad guy" that everyone wants to get their hands on.

Of the many, many quotes that I highlighted in Shadowfever, several of those came from conversations with the Sinsar Dubh. It's fascinating, clever, and deadly. It's also one of the most memorable villains that I've ever had the pleasure of reading about.
"The Sinsar Dubh paid me a visit last night. It reminded me of its crushing power, treated me to a taste of its sadism."
Joffrey Baratheon George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones/A Song of Fire and Ice series
"We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings...but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!" - Tyrion Lannister
We're cheating a bit with our next villain, Joffrey Baratheon. Since Jamie hasn't read the series and I'm only halfway through book one, he's still technically a TV villain for us. But we both share a very deep hatred for the little bastard king. And according to several articles I've read, his TV character stays mostly accurate to the one in the novels.

Whether you're reading the books or watching the series, it doesn't take long to realize just how dangerous it is for this ill-tempered child to have authority over an entire kingdom. You stop viewing Joffrey as a petulant young boy and start seeing him for the villain that he is. He's a liar, he's a coward and he's a spoiled, selfish brat who enjoys the suffering of others. It's difficult to imagine someone so young being so cruel and merciless.

Winter is coming, Joffrey Baratheon, and we're hoping you don't survive it!


Addicted to Heroines is one of our favorite blogs to stalk. They love dark fantasy, supernatural heroines who are emotionally fragile, co-dependent but  can still kick some serious ass with the best of them.  Cat and Jamie are also into zombies and are huge fans of J. Scott Campbell

Addicted to Heroines was established by Cat last year and after a few months, Jamie jumped on board, adding more flavor to the already exciting blog. Their BLOGOVERSARY is next month so make sure you visit because they have a lot of fun stuff in line for everyone complete with giveaways and author visits. 

Stalk Addicted to Heroines by visiting their blog
you can also follow them on Twitter
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July 19, 2012

Early Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Series: Something Strange & Deadly 1
Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Excerpt here
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

(Formerly titled The Spirit-Hunters)

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance
SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY by Susan Dennard was a fun occult read with necromancers and zombies running amok and terrorizing the otherwise peaceful state of Philadelphia. SDennard's debut novel is a macabre story of revenge, bullying, betrayal, resentment and a string of skewed righteousness that resulted to tragedy an unnecessary deaths. Here is the tale of Eleanor Fitt and how this crazy and exciting series of events greatly affected her life, changing its course permanently. 
The Dead hunt endlessly until they're laid to rest or their bodies are destroyed.
It's not hard not to like sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt, she doesn't have stars in her eyes, loyal to her family, honest about her feelings and above all she doesn't have illusions of being someone she's not. Eleanor's family lost their fortune when her father's business was sabotaged causing his health to deteriorate leading up to his death. But even if she knows she needs to marry well to maintain or reclaim the lifestyle she was once accustomed to, she didn't throw herself at anybody, there's courtship and tension between her and two of the characters but I wouldn't call it a love triangle. In fact, looking at the totality of the tale, being in a romantic relationship was the farthest thing from Eleanor's mind and even if she did find herself infatuated with someone, it was more of a pleasant accident than intentional. So NO annoying, bumbling heroine here which perfectly worked for me. 

The Spirit-Hunters, Joseph-Alexander Boyer and Daniel Sheridan to me are like a ghostbusterized versions of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. They are an unusual and interesting pair, Joseph is a Creole and very polished while Daniel is crass, socially awkward but a genius in gadgets. SDennard added intrigue to the story by planting seeds of doubt on these two's hero status which worked well in keeping the tale upbeat and engrossing. As for the rest of the characters, they were a little flat and didn't really offer much to the totality of the story, they're more like fancy decorations to an already furnished room.
"The fault is not in our stars," I whispered to the ceiling. "But in ourselves. This was my choice."
SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY was a little predictable, 30% into the story I already have a whodunit theory figured out, still I found it an enjoyable read. However I didn't find this as strictly Steampunk rather it's more of a suped up historical fiction to me as you won't find airships, automatons or any special gadgetry that one usually finds in other Steampunk reads. And even if Daniel was into gadgetry, it didn't feel like something that was totally out of place for that time.But Steampunk or not, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is still a wonderful story, I am not into zombies but I had fun reading this.



July 18, 2012

Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Excerpt here
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?
THE UNQUIET by Jeannine Garsee was a slow start for me and I struggled with the first half of the book. JGarsee took her time in building Rinn's Ohio world, introducing us to the characters and giving us too much room to feel them while poking holes at Rinn's credibility by using her condition and her involvement in her Nana's death. It's in the second half of the book that things got interesting and the synopsis started happening.
"Man, I gotta stay away from you," which makes me wonder if he's listening. "I can't trust myself."
"You have to resist her."
"I want to. I'm trying. But I don't know how!"
THE UNQUIET is essentially a revenge driven possession story. I don't want to give out too many spoilers but the mysterious Annaliese is the ghost of High School past. >The core of the tale reminded me of several horror cult classics which helped me stay glued to the story giving it this dark, gruesome flavor where no one is spared from Annaliese's wrath. Rinn's friends started dying and their deaths looked like accidents or mental breakdowns and as the quintessential horror heroine, it's up to her to exorcise this ghost, save her friends, herself and banishing her own demons at the same time.
"Maybe there is no Annaliese. Maybe it's only us."
The characters are realistic enough, I responded strongly to Millie, Rinn's mom's best friend, who is a horrible, superficial, rotten person. She projected her insecurities and ineptitude towards her daughter, Tasha to the point where it stopped being encouraging and challenging and turned into a bashing. I really felt bad for the girl and in a way I was relieved that she managed to escape her nightmare of a mom.

THE UNQUIET lived up to its title, I like that there's no magic or other supernatural beings involved and stayed as a straight up ghost story meant to scare and give the reader goosebumps.




July 17, 2012

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Excerpt here
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.


But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

Beau Rivage is where these Somnolents, cursed individuals, converge while they wait their curses to play out. Here you meet versions of Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Beauty & the Beast, Bluebeard, Sleeping Beauty, etc. And I can only imagine the anxiety of waiting for your curse to happen wondering if you'll emerge as the victor in the end or if your prince will come through for you. I would be paranoid too if I were Sleeping Beauty, avoiding anything sharp and pointed that might send me to a coma or Snow White, avoiding apples like the plague for fear of being poisoned or choked to death. Not only that but everyone around you is bracing for the worst eventuality, preparing a glass coffin, bringing a sword or an ax just in case and other cliched device for when the curse finally hits.
You don't like feeling trapped, like your future is already mapped out for you.
I wasn't captivated by Mirabelle, she's selfish and deceitful, running away from her godmothers, misleading them of her whereabouts to go to Beau Rivage to find the truth about her parents. I understand her NEED for self discovery but that's very inconsiderate of her to send them on a wild goose chase. When she finally got to Beau, she got herself sidetracked by the Valentine Brothers, Blue and Felix, completely trusting the latter and taking advantage of Felix's hospitality before getting sucked into their Somnolent Royal clique. The only character that I found fascinating was Layla who runs a bookstore and having these books in possession that can illuminate which Somnolent you are and other information relating to it. All the rest were either predictable or flat.

When Mira's curse finally happened, it was unexpected but a little underwhelming for me, her prince did come but I didn't feel any connection to their pairing so to me it was a tad anti-climactic. In the end, Mira still barely knows about her parents and what happened to them, the person responsible for almost killing her is on the loose, and she got too absorbed with her love life to go and accomplish what she came for in the first place.

KILL ME SOFTLY had an interesting take on our beloved fairy tales and the direction SCross is going is delightful, there's no telling how she'll let these curses manifest so I'm sure the coming guesswork will be a clincher. She did hint at gruesome and dark eventualities but Mira's story didn't quite hit the mark for me and though her antagonist is a psycho, how it was played out left me wanting for more. I was looking for the darkness behind the motives and not letting the curse take the fall for bad behavior and lapse in sound judgment. I still think it's a wonderful story however I was looking for something else and unfortunately for me, I didn't get my fix here.


July 16, 2012

Tiffany Reisz Free Shorts

I had a very interesting weekend immersed in pleasure reading
one of the most provocative stories I've read in a long time. 
I have never been this obsessed with anyone or anything book-wise since Vampire Chronicles and Anne Rice and that was two decades ago. Apparently I wasn't immune to the charms of New York's Top Domme, she's as irresistible on paper as she probably is in real life.
For three days I lived and breathed Nora Sutherlin and everything that has to do with her debauched life. 
The Siren was not an easy read for me and honestly I'm still reeling from this experience (yes The Siren IS an experience). One Tracy Cooper said that at its purest, the new erotic novel is a brilliantly-written story with super-nova sex that compliments the caliber of the writing, and is fundamental to the plot and characters. In other words, if you remove the sex, the story can't be told. I never in a million years would have thought that I would enjoy erotica like The Siren with it's explicit BDSM elements and brutally honest break down of human emotions and psyche.

And this doesn't even BEGIN to explain my weekend so I thought I'll cut it into portions and share Tiffany's shorts first before I go to the heart of the matter although I recommend reading The Siren FIRST before you jump into the shorts.
I‘m no whore. I give it away for free. Below is a guide to the free stories and extras I have lurking on this blog. - Tiffany Reisz

The Teacher The Mitzvah are Zach and Grace's stories, how they first got together and a peek at their marriage. Here we get a taste of vanilla flavored Tiffany and she's as sweet as candy. I wish she's write a novella about Zach and Grace because their story is very romantic and the opposite of Nora and Soren's. If you're into fluff, I'm sure you'll LOVE these.

Griffin in Wonderland is a short about Griffin, one of Nora's Dom friends and how he got invited into the club by The King of the Underground, Kingsley Edge. We meet Nora when she was still Eleanor and how she and Kingsley hazed Griffin to their club.

Little Red Riding Crop is probably my favorite among the shorts. Nora was sent by Kingsley to their rival club, Black Forest, to meet with the mysterious Le Grande Dame and talk her out of poaching King's D/s. But Nora runs in with the Big Brad Wolfe and her short little visit turned into a much needed vacation. You can skip the other shorts but don't make the mistake of skipping this.

Nightswimming for me is the most touching story of all. Here we read the story of how Wesley and Nora came to their little arrangement. I love Wesley, he is the anti-thesis of Nora and everything that she is but I believe Wesley represents what she wants to be or used to be. I have to read The Angel before I can confirm this theory.

The Ingenue The Metronome proves that not even movie starlets and teen pop singers are immune to Nora and her kink. Made me wonder who among the A-list Hollywood elite are into the lifestyle.

So head on to 
www.tiffanyreisz.com
and get your kink fix.