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Winners Choice
ends 5.31

November 30, 2012

Gush and Gripe #11


Gushing on Homeland
I've been bingeing on several TV shows lately and after my Life marathon on Netflix, I realized that I developed a crush on Damian Lewis! Aside from Prince Harry, I'm really not into redheads but dang nabbit! Damian Lewis is one hot firecrotch! So I started watching HOMELAND and short end of the story, I'm hooked!

HOMELAND is basically about a bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) who is investigating/obsessing on Marine Sargeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) who was captured and tortured by terrorists in Afghanistan for eight years. After his rescue Mathison got a tip implicating that a certain Marine joined the enemy and is now a threat to the US. Thus the cloak-and-dagger begins and mayhem ensues in every episode.

I'm not a big fan of Claire Danes but several episodes into the show and she found a new fan in me. No wonder this girl got Emmy's and Golden Globes! Add Mr. Lewis and my other guilty pleasure, Rupert Friend, into the mix and my eyes are just about glued to the screen! The plot is gripping and the acting is just superb, if you haven't seen an episode, you're missing out on something really good!



Griping on Flu Season
For the past couple of days I've been doing my darnest keeping the damn flu at bay. I've been holing up in my room, getting water drunk, munching on chewable vitamins like tic tacs. Right now I'm on the brink of either getting past it or succumbing to the damn virus. I don't have a fever yet but I get the symptoms like itchy throat, headache and the sniffles, which is really gross and the coughing part is really a bitch! I want to reach down my throat and scratch my esophagus out! I got the virus from my 3yo nephew, whose like a virus magnet and is quick to pass it on to his aunt. The little bugger is now better while I am suffering slowly everyday. 




November 28, 2012

Review: Poison Shy by Stacey Madden

Series: Stand-alone
Format: ARC (NetGalley) 
Excerpt
Release Date: September 26, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Brandon Galloway, a 29-year-old nobody with a history of dead-end jobs, lands a position with a pest control company. When he meets 21-year-old wild child Melanie Blaxley while fumigating her apartment for bed bugs, her vulgar sensuality and reckless promiscuity both attract and repulse him. Before long her world of crazy sex and petty crime starts to take its toll on Brandon’s sanity, and he wonders how much more of her he can stand. Then she disappears, and Brandon must find out if it is all just a prank, or if Melanie’s wild ways finally led her into danger. A hair-raising thrill ride through the bars and backstreets of a fictional small town, this fast-paced and darkly funny debut novel explores obsession, fear, and the threat of other people.

POISON SHY, Stacey Madden's debut novel is the kind of dark & disturbing story I am fond of reading, it's unfiltered, sarcastically funny and jagged brutally honest doesn't even begin to cut it. What started as a simple case of lust and loneliness escalated into a criminally tragic story that started one fateful day when Brandon Galloway fumigated Melanie Blaxely's apartment for bed bugs. 
I learned at a young age that my parents weren't the steady, reliable safeguards I'd once imagined them to be. Instead they were frail, selfish, and vengeful -- just like everyone else.
POISON SHY is told in Brandon's POV, his childhood alone has enough material for SMadden to write another sob-story what with a schizophrenic, bible thumping mother and a cheater for a father who abandoned them and ran off with his mistress. Naturally Brandon developed a certain pessimism for life but things started looking up when he met Melanie. But whatever dreams of hand-holding and long walks at the beach Brandon has was squashed down by Melanie on that first date with her crass sensuality and unapologetic behavior. Disgusting is the first word that comes to mind to describe their first "date" and I wouldn't call their relationship romantic either. Their affair is so screwed-up the highlights are a lot of pity-fucks, drunken sex and chlamydia that essentially bonded them in some weird way. And like most relationships forged in promiscuity and lies, Brandon and Melanie's ended before it even began. Tragically.
Bad decisions. That's what it came down to. Getting involved with Melanie was a bad decision.
I love SMadden's voice its sugar-free and tactless with succinct lamentations about life's misfortune, he had no qualms in creating real and human characters, people who pee, vomit, stink and shit for starters. You won't find romantic prose, long and winding rosy lines and dreams of HEA, just a swift punch in the gut that will disturb and grip you at the same time. No illusions of perfection here and he didn't try to romanticize the tragedies of life, POISON SHY plainly shows us that when people mess up, the effects are usually permanent and ugly. SMadden's debut is provocative in it's simplicity, it's one of those sorry illustrations that shit can happen to even the most innocent and unassuming guy, the only difference is POISON SHY was told in a very extraordinary way. As a reference, if you got a kick out of Crank by Ellen Hopkinds, you'll definitely would want to read this one.





November 27, 2012

Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Series: Black City 1
Format: Hardcover
Get a sampler here
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable — they fall in love.

Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash's long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they're caught they'll be executed —but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
Should really be 3.5
It's been a while since I read YA and I have to say BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards is a good warm-up for the binge I'm planning to do this weekend. I've seen ERichard's novel floating around the blogosphere for quite some time now and aside from the super pretty cover, YA lovers are giving it all kinds of praises. 

Sixty percent in to the book and I was so sure I'll give it a three at best, the world building, characters, romantic relationships and politics isn't something I haven't read before. I even mentioned that BLACK CITY feels like Mystic City's (Theo Lawrence)  cousin because of their similar framework with both books being paranormal Dystopia with a tyrant suppressing the minority causing turmoil and unrest amongst the people. So you have martial law, sympathizers, collaborators, horrendous scientific experiments, medieval punishments and a pair of teenagers who fell in love and are destined to change the world as they know it. Very predictable right?
I turn away, horrified at my body's reaction to him. It's sick and irrational. He's a Darkling, a predator that would gladly rip my throat out, given the slightest provocation. - Natalie
Not quite. Though I still would like to read a more probable explanation for the Darklings and their origin, the mythology behind their race is fantastical. The plot is very direct with sugar coated gore to make it YA friendly (dissenters are burned and crucified!), the dialogue engaging, the characters steadfast, NO LOVE TRIANGLES or any geometric shapes and the conflicts are mobilized by layer upon layers of intrigue and plotting. ERichard's teens are angsty, rebellious, idealistic and ambitious, no goody-goody kids here. She even added drug addiction and promiscuity for good measure but she had the sense to veil and desensitize it but it's still there if one looks closely. 
Our hearts flutter in unison, and I focus on their comforting beat...I know he's dead. His heart's stopped beating inside me.
Ash Fisher and Natalie Buchanan are likable characters. Their bickering and eventual romance felt normal and is far from insta-love although I must admit I wish ERichards gave us a better explanation on how a simple physical connection jump-started Ash's otherwise dead heart aside from "destiny" and the pull of a twin blood. Ash's story in particular made me sad with her mom being infected by Wrath, which causes necrosis to Darklings, and Ash's pain in seeing his mom wither away slowly is heartbreaking. Their last farewell was quite moving. Overall, these two didn't play us with their love-hate-passive-aggressive shenanigan's we frequently get from indecisive teens. These two knew what they want and they moved heaven and earth to get it.

BLACK CITY definitely has a shock factor with the Wrath, a formidable villain in the tyrant, Purian Rose, conspiracies and pending revelations. At the same time BLACK CITY left me with a bunch of questions and there were some explanations or details that I feel ERichards could have better expounded on. Nevertheless, I am still looking forward to reading Phoenix mainly because I want to get to know Purian Rose better, I love villains and he reminds me so much of President Snow from The Hunger Games, and maybe I'll find the answers to my questions.

Screen Gems has preemptively struck a deal to bring Elizabeth Richards' upcoming young adult fantasy series BLACK CITY to the big screen... Screen Gems says it moved quickly to complete the rights deal for the series based on the high level of anticipation for the property in the online community and other young adult circles. Screen Gems is currently searching for a screenwriter to adapt the material. - Hollywood Reporter
No big surprise here, with the success of Twilight, The Hunger Games and the upcoming Mortal Instruments and Beautiful Creatures, movie outfits are scrambling around, looking for the next big thing. In fairness, BLACK CITY can make a good movie, the setting and ERichard's imaginative creatures can make for a good visual exercise if executed right. Here's to hoping this pushes through!



November 26, 2012

Girl Crush Mondays: Nora Grey

A seventeen year-old smokey-eyed brunette with volumes of curly hair that has a mind of its own. Nora drives a beat-up VW and lives in a quaint farmhouse in Maine. She lives with her Mother, Blythe Grey.

Nora is generally a practical, responsible, easy going girl… until she met Patch Cipriano, her boyfriend and a Fallen Angel. 

Her BFF Vee Sky, who she calls her un-twin, is quirky, funny, boy crazy and flirty.

Has deadly legs that goes on for days, something Patch can't resist. 

Her Father is Hank Millar aka Black Hand, the leader of the Nephils. He passed the torch to Nora when he died.


Why we love Nora?
She's brave, resilient and though a little stubborn, she's very principled and driven. Unlike the other tweens we've encountered, Nora is far from annoying and though she's loyal to her beliefs, it's not to a fault. She's got a good head on her shoulders and a very good example of a "young adult" heroine.


Favorite Patch & Nora Quotes

"Do you want to possess my body?"
"I want to do a lot of things to you body, but that's not one of them." 
[Hush, Hush]


"Let's be honest, Nora. You got it bad for me" His eyes held a lot of depth."And I've got it bad for you."
[Hush, Hush]


"I love you, Nora. Whatever happens, promise me you'll remember that. I don't care why you came into my life, only that you did. I don't remember all the things I did wrong. I remember what I did right, I remember you. You made my life meaningful. You made my life special.” 
 [Crescendo]


“I learned that I was either crazy in love with you, or putting on the best performance of my life." [Silence]


“This isn't over," I said. "After everything we've been through, you don't get the right to brush me off. I'm not letting you off that easily." 
[Silence]


“You dress to impress," I said approvingly.
"No, Angel." He leaned in, his teeth softly grazing my ear. "I undress to impress.”
[Finale]


“Did you know, the first time I saw you, I thought: I’ve never seen anything more captivating and beautiful?”
“Why are you telling me this?” I said miserably.
“I saw you, and I wanted to be close to you. I wanted you to let me in. I wanted to know you in a way no one else did. I wanted you, all of you. That wanting nearly drove me mad.” Patch paused, inhaling softly, as though breathing me in. “And now that I have you, the only thing that terrifies me is having to go back to that place. Having to want you all over again, with no hope of my desire ever being fulfilled. You’re mine, Angel. Every last piece of you. I won’t let anything change that.” 
[Finale]

Hush, Hush

NOTE: Samantha Ruggiero as Nora Grey. Same model used to for the Crescendo Cover and series fan favorite

"In December 2000, I married my Philadelphia-native husband, Justin. In April 2001, I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Community Health and went to work as a secretary-slash-teacher-slash-accountant at an alternative high school in Provo, Utah. I loved the students at the school, but having the principal call me in on Saturdays to operate the copy machine was a different matter. In February 2003, my husband surprised me by enrolling me in a writing class for my twenty-fourth birthday. On that day, I went from the girl who wrote stories daily in the privacy of her journal, to the girl who wrote stories and shared them with people outside of the worlds in her head. It was also in that class that I started writing HUSH, HUSH.

"Five years, one baby, and one move to Colorado later, I had a book, and it was just about as sexy and dangerous as the spy-life I'd always dreamed about."

Stalk Becca


November 23, 2012

Review: Love is Fear by Caroline Hanson

Series: Valerie Dearborn 2
Format: Digital (Gift from Caroline Hanson)
Excerpt
Release Date: December 15, 2011
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

After a lot of swearing and only a little nookie, Valerie Dearborn has decided to make a change. No more lusting after Lucas, the hot, but emotionless, vampire king who can’t commit. Instead she’s going to make it work with Jack. After all, not only is he breathing, but he’s the love of her life….Isn’t he?

Valerie is an Empath, with supernatural abilities that seem to do nothing more than give her the hots for Lucas. Once upon a time, Empath’s had a purpose. They were ambassadors to the Others—Fey, Witches, Werewolves and Vampires. They could settle the emotions of a Werewolf and make Vampires feel again.

But that was long ago.

Lucas isn’t about to let Valerie go. He needs her to help him find the Fey, last seen in the Colony of Roanoke, South Carolina, circa 1587. He still believes they are the key to restoring balance to the world and the only way to keep vampires under control. They won’t trust him, but they will trust Val.

Between Jack, Lucas and Rachel, Val knows life won’t be dull. Nor will it be the normal, 2.5 kids kind of life she’s always wanted.

As their enemies close in, Val must ask herself what life is really about–trust, duty or mind-blowing orgasms? And even if she finds the answer, she may not live long enough to enjoy it.

The last time I've had an ambivalent cauldron rating was when we reviewed Risking it All by Jennifer Schmidt. And just like Kenndy Monroe, I'm truly, madly, deeply furious and frustrated over Valerie Dearborn!


Girl, why do you have to be like that being generous with your nookie and all?! 


Little nookie? *snort* yeah, right! Do not, for one minute, believe that Caroline Hason held back with book 2 because LOVE IS FEAR is a freaking mirror-image and nothing is what's supposed to be! The heroine is acting like a whore, the instigator is the voice of reason, the hero is chopped-liver and the villain saved the day... sort of. Gah! Anyway, I will no longer dwell on the plot because like Love is Darkness, the synopsis pretty much covers it, I will instead talk about the characters.
--once they hit the sheets, you don't have a chance. If she's come back to you, you better lock that down, sew it up--do something vaguely domestic with her.
So let me break it down for you and explain where this tantrum is coming from. So Val and Jack did try to make it work but apparently brutal honesty is not their thing. Both of them can't handle the Jack-Nicholson-Truth so they gave up on their romantic interlude with a lot of fighting words, much sulking and frustration, driving them to the arms of their manipulative vampire enemies, Lucas and Rachel. So Val, with stars in her eyes, surrendered to Lucas completely and to be fair, the surrendering part wasn't bad, for a minute there I too want to be impaled in Lucas' lap and have his fangs graze my skin and his hands ravage my body...

Which is the stupidest move Valerie Dearborn has ever done in the entire 21 years of her life! Jack, for his part, is acting like a martyr for sainthood and decided to align himself with Rachel, a vampire witch whose constant prodding and instigating put hairline cracks on Val and Jack's already vulnerable relationship. Jack thought he was protecting Val but little does he know, our little Empath is busy having multiple orgasms with the enemy.
Vampire chicks were even more fucked up than human ones. - Jack


I'm a lesbian, so the odds of you being able to fuck the answer out of me are pretty low. - Rachel
So it all came to a head when they finally got to Roanoke (South Carolina) and as expected, things started to turn ugly and Valerie is in the middle of a major shitstorm. Following in the tradition of rude awakenings, Val got hers after all's been said and done and she can't undo what she already set in motion. And staying true to her impulsive streak, after selling her soul to Lucas she pulled a second mortgage on it and this time it's with the Fey King, Cerdewellyn. Good luck with that!

As you can tell, I am far from being emphatic with Valerie even if I understand where her reasoning missteps came from, I still think she's a ho and I was beyond gleeful with the ending because she had it coming! Though I'm not a happy camper as far as our heroine is concerned overall I love LOVE IS FEAR, only good writing and plotting can elicit such strong emotions from readers don't you think? CHanson did a great job pulling and twisting the threads tighter and I can't help but get emotionally invested in these books. I read books 1 & 2 back to back so that's saying a lot.

But enough of my rambling, if you love PNR/UF with a lot of scheming and hot sex, get Valerie Dearborn, it's worth the ride and the space in your shelves.
--you don't fuck with vampires. Don't think you are a step ahead of them. You will never outsmart them, nor will you survive them.




November 21, 2012

Review: Love is Darkness by Caroline Hanson

Series: Valerie Dearborn 1
Format: Digital
Excerpt
Release Date: August 27, 2011
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
 

Valerie Dearborn wants a cotton candy life, but it’s more like a puffer fish: pointy, unusual, and—if not prepared exactly right—deadly.

In London for graduate school, Val knows she's finally free. Her father and ex-almost-boyfriend are back in California and she's out of the Vampire hunting biz for good. Or is she?

She draws the attention of Lucas, a 1600 year old Vampire, and King to his kind. He’s also wicked hot. As golden as Lucifer, and just as tempting, he makes Valerie an offer she can't refuse— help him find out if the Others (Empaths, Fey and Werewolves) still exist or he'll stop protecting those she loves.

Lucas tells her that Empaths were a Vampire’s biggest weakness before going extinct hundreds of years ago. While the Fey or a Werewolf might kill a Vampire, an Empath could enslave them, seducing or harming with emotions at will. The one detail he leaves out? Valerie is an Empath.

And after 1600 years of an emotionless existence, Lucas wants Valerie like a recovering alcoholic wants a wine cooler.

Can she keep those she loves alive, stop Lucas from munching on her, survive a fanged revolution and still find a way to have that boring, normal life she’s always wanted? Probably not, but boy is she gonna try!

I just literally finished LOVE IS DARKNESS, book 1 of Caroline Hanson's Valerie Dearborn series and usually I wait a couple of hours or even days before I write up my review so I can avoid rambling. Well I don't think it applies here because I am thrumming with excitement and I want to get this review out of the way so I can read book 2, Love is Fear, uninterrupted. 

Going in to LOVE IS DARKNESS I thought the series was YA so I put it on the back burner because I'm on a semi-YA ban and I'm bored with vampires so a combination of the two is not good. Well apparently I was wrong on that account because not only is this series for adults but CHanson kicked some serious ass with her vampires! I was glued to the pages for most of the day I was very engaged to the story and obviously, I really got invested in Valerie Dearborn's vampire hunting tale. The story starts by taking us back a couple of years to really solidify the backstories then moving to the present until it all came to a head in the vampire Challenge. The synopsis sums it up so I will not longer expound on the plot. 
Violence has touched you. Taken from you and you need to know your own strength in return.
Valerie Dearborn. This girl is smart, a little slutty and cunning. She's headstrong, guarded, defensive, a little impulsive and a very curious person which is the main reason why she's in the eye of the shitstorm with these unholy vampires and their nasty politics. She also has a lot of anger and resentment for her father and his unquenchable thirst for revenge against the vampires who killed Val's mom and by association, with Jack, Val's first love and her father's trusty sidekick. Valerie tried to hard to distinguish herself and shroud that part of her life, obviously it was a failed attempt because as Fate would have it, she can't shake these vampires and their hunters off no matter how hard she tries.

Jack and Lucas. these men are both gorgeous, dangerous and very seductive it's hard to choose which one is better. Jack is tall, dark, handsome and Italian, he's reliable, meticulous, very loyal and like Val, I want to give this guy my V-card (too bad it expired a looong time ago). The heat leaping off the pages from that Monopoly drinking game gave me a bad case of blue balls! I wanted to reach through the pages and shake him for pulling back when all I wanted for him to do is go in and finish the deed! And then there's Lucas who reminded me of V'Lane from Fever and Spike from Buffy. He's one of those Asshole Alphas Amanda was talking about in yesterday's guest blog post and though I'm not into vampires, I can see why Valerie is attracted to him. Being the King of his kind and living for over a millenia, Lucas is Power and Male, his veins pump testosterone. Jack is up for some serious competition against him not only in the romance department but in the battlefield as well. 
I see the life you have, what you have made for yourself and I want that for you. I am trying to be a good enough man to want that for you... do don't torture me with this. I'm not the white picket fence guy. I like you happy, carefree. You're my bright spot, the light in my life. And yeah, I read it in a Hallmark card but it's still true. - Jack


Boredom and ennue are the true dangers for a vampire over 500 years old. What is left to live for when everyone we have lived is long dead? relationships become repetitive and trite. We become exhausted. - Lucas
LOVE IS DARKNESS is a vivid and captivating story. CHanson went all out and didn't spare any details, she gave me lust, blood, gore, love, terror and hate among others. Aside from Val, Lucas and Jack, the villains were superb and the intrigue and conflict were well plotted. The pacing was a steady beat until it finally led to this big blow at the vampire Challenge. My jaw dropped from the merciless violence that  Lucas displayed and now I am craving for more. So see you tomorrow, I'm off to cracking open book 2! I hope I won't get blue balls this time.


NOTE: Big THANKS to my Matey, Michelle of Novels on the Run, for sending Caroline Hanson our way.



November 20, 2012

Loved It: Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

Series: Coveted 1
Format: eGalley
Excerpt & Deleted Scenes
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.

Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.

COVETED is a character driven, heroine-centric first book in the series. SMadison invested more on the world building and introducing her Russian werewolf OCD heroine, Natalya Stravinsky, than piecing together a string of intense mystery and adventure. I have to admit, there are a lot of back story that I feel SMadison just gleaned on or swept under the rug like downplaying what triggered Nat's OCD, why exactly her pack doesn't want her, why another pack wants her dead and what exactly happened with Nat's relationship with sex-on-a-stick Thorn, her ex-boyfriend and current Alpha of the pack.

But despite these holes I loved the story and Natalya. I felt her confusion and the lengths she has to go through to manage her OCD and the attachment she has with her Christmas ornaments. At face value, Nat doesn't seem to be a strong heroine, she seems mousy and ordinary, but her complex personality and background combined with the group of strong characters around her made the story so vibrant and engaging for me. When pushed, Nat is truly extraordinary but currently she's broken and regrouping so I find her character development very interesting and worth following.

SMadison made COVETED all about the characters which in retrospect I can now appreciate because there are a lot of people to remember in Nat's story and if SMadison combined that with speed induced action sequences, I think a lot of them will get lost in the mix and that would be tragic. Nat's traditional Russian patriarchal family is potent and the Stravinsky's have a bright future in reality TV. Then we have Nat's quirky bestfriend Aggie, her wood nymph sister-in-law, an Old Magic weaving Grandma (Love Grandma Lasovskaya) and a rowdy group of supernaturals she goes to group therapy with. But despite the intimidating amount of characters and kinds to remember, each one of them had their own timbre and texture and I have to applaud SMadison for this. Main characters are difficult to write and as it is, ensuring the supporting characters can float on their own is proof of meticulous work.

I also like the conundrum which is Nat's love life and personal relationships with Thorn, South Tom's River Alpha and Nick a white wizard. Obviously these men has the hots for her and Nat is attracted to them on different levels and for different reasons but it's still a toss up as to who she'll pick eventually. Thorn is unrequited and forbidden while Nick is dependable but of a different "species" so to speak.

Overall I felt food after reading COVETED, it's not as action-packed compared to other UF series but what it lacked in adrenaline it made up for the world building and well fleshed-out characters. SMadison planted a lot of seed in this one and I want to be there when she starts reaping them one by one, harvesting it all too could work. Nevertheless I want to be there when it happens! Nat's a great heroine and I want to be in the sidelines come her happy ending.


Coveted Reading Order





Natalya Stravinsky, the charmingly neurotic werewolf from Coveted, is featured in this prequel novella. Before Thorn Grantham returned to South Toms River, New Jersey, Natalya lived alone with her stash of holiday trinkets. Her life takes an interesting turn when she faces a difficult challenge: to find a stolen figurine she'd recently won from a magical creatures auction website. It should be simple, just demand for it back from the pesky thief. But a set of events occurs that puts not only her life at risk, but her family's as well.

Get COLLECTED (Coveted 0.5)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble



November 19, 2012

Christmas Reads by Shiloh Walker

For those of you who are still unfamiliar with Shiloh Walker's writing, let me assure you that the lady can write a solid smexy and these holiday stories are will not only warm your hearts but will keep your veins pumping with more than the usual dose of holiday cheer. So on those nights where Jack Frost's bite is colder than usual, grab one of these, it'll make you melt in no time.


Every Last Fantasy
Shiloh Walker
Ellora's Cave Publishing
December 15, 2004
Novella
Excerpt
Vikky is discontented. She is tired of her vanilla life and the bumbling lovers who inhabit it. She wants—needs—a strong man to take charge and lead the way to her wild side.

She has dreams… She dreams of a man who makes all the other men in her life pale in comparison, a man who knows exactly what she wants, and he wants nothing more than to give it to her.

But such a guy, to her knowledge, doesn't exist in reality. So what else can a woman do at Christmastime to help that dream along? She can ask Santa for one. And my, oh my, does Santa listen…

Purchase Every Last Fantasy



His Christmas Cara
Shiloh Walker
Ellora's Cave Publishing
November 17, 2004
Novella
His name was Eben Marley…Ebenezer, to be exact, and for the longest time, he'd lived exactly as the famous scrooge from the old Christmas story. Well, almost exactly. Eben had two great loves, making money and making love to women.

He did little more than work, and take as many women as he could, trying to forget the one woman who'd walked away from him. Then Eben met someone who was finally able to break through the ice around his heart. As he spent a long, sensuous night loving her sweet body and staring into her soft green eyes, he became frightened of the emotions she aroused in him. So he cruelly pushed her away.

Eben's life has been empty since that long-ago night, though the woman often haunts his dreams. On Christmas Eve, an accidental encounter brings it all rushing back. With the bitter taste of loneliness and regret riding him hard, Eben comes face to face with three determined…spirits? Turns out the Ebenezer of old was in fact a real man, and if Eben wants to avoid the hollow future that these spirits point out to him, he's going to have to look deep inside his heart…and hope that the woman he pushed away can forgive him.

Purchase His Christmas Cara



Make Me Believe
Shiloh Walker
Ellora's Cave Publishing
November 17, 2004
Short Story

Chelly is going nuts…she thinks. And she's fighting for the right to keep her little boy. Right before Christmas, her ex announces he is going to sue for custody of their child.

Because she is losing her mind. She is talking to a man who doesn't exist. A tall, sexy creature with wicked blue eyes and magic in his hands. And he can't possibly exist.

After all, elves aren't real.

Purchase Make Me Believe

Girl Crush Mondays: Riona Dade

Riona Dade

A Pure Soul working for the Arcangel Ramiel to fight Lucifer's minions who are corrupting man's soul spreading evil and hate.
She's a statistician by day and Keystone Witch at night
Her partners are the Greek God Dionysius and the catholic priest Marcello Angeletti
According to Marc, Riona smells like spicy, hot cinnamon and suede, yet completely feminine
Redhead with D-cups to boot
Riona is bisexual with a demon ex lover and now fancies herself in love with a priest

Quick Hits:
Favorite scent: Cold air
Stilettos or pumps: Pumps
Night or Day: Night
Favorite season: Winter
Random song in your player: Break on Through to the Other Side by The Doors


What's your poison? Classically, a beer drinker, but Dee has introduced me to Ouzo, and life may never be the same.

Two things we don't know about Dee and Marc? Dee's mother died ten years ago. He's also an accomplished body builder, and competed on the junior circuit in his forties (of course, he looked to be in his twenties). He keeps several trophies in his office. 

Marc, despite being Italian, hates Italian food. Sometimes when he prays, you can pick out names of his friends on his lips. Not that I focus on his lips or anything.


Read more about Riona and her sexy fight against Lucifer




Killian McRae would tell you that she is a rather boring lass, an authoress whose characters’ lives are so much more exciting than her own. She would be right. Sadly, this sarcastic lexophile leads a rather mundane existence in the San Francisco Bay Area. She once dreamed of being the female Indiana Jones, and to that end she earned a degree in Middle Eastern History from the University of Michigan. However, when she learned that real archaeologist spend more time lovingly removing dust with toothbrushes from shards of pottery than outrunning intriguing villains with exotic accents, she decided to become a writer instead. She writes across many genres, including science fiction, fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.


Killian is a member of Stanford University’s Writer’s Certificate program and a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America.


Stalk Killian

Review + Giveaway: Pure and Sinful by Killian McRae

Series: Pure Souls 1
Format: Digital
Excerpt
Release Date: September 20, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore

Statistician Riona Dade knows all about probabilities. Still, even she'd tell you the chances of discovering you’re a witch, being appointed to the demon-slaying trio known as the Pure Souls, and finding yourself sinfully attracted to a catholic priest who uses amen and other four-lettered words with equal enthusiasm are pretty slim. Also learning your ex was once Hell’s first-round draft pick, and realizing you're a prize catch for Satan’s soul-damning quota leaves a girl feeling like she just won the lottery while being struck by lightning while riding a unicorn across Atlantis. 

Trying to keep her mind off role playing the Thornbirds with Father Angeletti, Riona leads the Pure Souls against a maniacal menagerie of Mephistopheles’s minions plaguing greater Boston. Giving in to lust is a direct flight to damnation for both her and the priest, leading Riona to distract herself by striking up a romance with her new, foxy neighbor, Lucy. But she can't shake her attraction to Marcello, and as the tension between them grows thicker than a lumberjack’s beard, temptation may become too difficult to resist. 

How long can they deny the pull growing between them, knowing there will be Hell to pay?

I'll just get out of the way and say that PURE & SINFUL by Killian McRae is not what I expected. When KMcRae asked if we could review her sexy PNR on our blog I was thinking along the lines of a couple of supernatural beings cross pollinating the hell out of each other with the focus being on sex and not so much on the plot. I mean just look at the cover! It promises a lot of cheap sex and lewd behavior right?

Well, PURE & SINFUL is straight up PNR and compared to some other books I've read it's actually pretty tame. It might not be as sexed up as I thought but the story was funny, well written and I. Loved. It. KMcRae knows how to tease you til you're squirming with eagerness then she throws a cokuple of curve balls that gave the story a lot of delicious twist and turns. I was engaged the entire afternoon as I was introduced to the bewitching Riona Dade and her run-in with The Devil. 
I bet you're beautiful when your body is exploding too. You purr, don't you? You look like a purr-er to me. Can't deny, I'd like to hear that I'm a little jealous of the one who'll get to claim you - Ramiel
So Riana is a Pure Soul, a soldier employed by the Council of Seven led by the Arcangel Ramiel, off to fight Satan and his minions. Every team has three players and Riona's teammates are the Greek God Dionysius and Father Marcello Angelletti who are both very gorgeous by the way. Every time these two are in the scene I get distracted by their sex appeal, add a raunchy Ramiel and Riona's tenacious ex demon lover, Jerry, to the mix plus a sexy brunette neighbor named Lucy and you have one sexual mayhem going on. Now Lucifer wants Riona and he will stop at nothing til he gets her to play for his side. Even if it means using the throbbing sexual attraction that Riona and Marc has for each other.

I love the heroine, the men are delicious, the dialogue funny and entertaining and though the smexy is sparse, the steam factor was hot enough to get me breathing shallow from anticipation. But who am I kidding, the men made the book for me! Each of them are their own person, nobody faded in the background, each had their own quirks heck, we even  get to play with Ramiel and Lucifer a bit and their bits were funny similar to that of Castiel in Supernatural when Dean is corrupting him with porn and burgers. Bottom line is PURE & SIMPLE was lewd and sexy but it wasn't cheap. It was awesome!
Why was it whenever you found a man you wouldn't mind using for non-committal, no-strings-attached sex, he already has a boyfriend?
Though KMcRae tried to make light of things, by PURE & SINFUL's end things got darker. The turn out was a killer and I got really frustrated there for a bit. Gah! Without giving out any spoilers it looks like the stakes are higher and it just became personal. I'm happy to report though that Pure Souls 2 is coming out soon and I won't be waiting long to see what the heck is going to happen next now that the players got shuffled. We need book 2 STAT Killian!!!



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November 18, 2012

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged #29

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.




Bagged
a gift from the lovely Cecy Robson
I still don't want to open this because of the pretty package.
But it's a water bottle and inside are The Weird Girls magnet and a tube of pomegranate lip balm.

won from Sarah of The Book Life Blog
A love note from Dianna Love
The Curse by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love (Belador 3)
Keeper Kase™ loaded with a special selection of Keeper Cards™
and a pack of handy post its.
All of these are signed along with every keeper card. This was an awesome swag pack!


won from Jamie of Addicted to Heroines
Sinners on Tour 1 & 2
This was a surprise but a very pleasant win for me. I've heard about this from Mariya over at Mystifying Paranormal Reviews and then Cimmaron picked it up and the rest is a series of non-stop gushing and cold showers from what I've read from her reviews and the others.
And as I love sinners, I decided to make a party of it and got the other two books from NetGalley
Sinners on Tour 3 | Sinners on Tour 5

here's the rest of my load from NetGalley & Edelweiss
Hammer of Angels (Shadowstorm 2) by G.T. Almasi | Poison Shy by Stacey Madden |
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul 2) by Leanna Renee Heber

 
Big & Small
One of the most anticipated movie of the year is out, don't be like me and miss out on it. I heard it's pretty EPIC. Read Cimmaron's review if you're still undecided, maybe she can convince you to be a Twi-hard even for a night.



And as one successful franchise ends, another one begins. I know most of you have seen it but once again, here's the trailer for Mortal Instruments: City of Bones showing in theaters near you on August 23, 2013.



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Ends 1November 18

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