September 30, 2013

Gush and Gripe: Rating Addendum

Review & Rating Addendum

Have you ever disagreed with your own past reviews and ratings? 

I found myself doing this just recently. I was perusing my Goodreads READ shelf and found some interesting reviews and ratings that I gave certain books which if I read now, I know my feedback would be totally different than what I originally shared. 

See I don't reread books, I can only count on one hand the books that I have reread in my entire life. I know that details matter, especially when one is pertaining to book series, and I will not contest that point. But to me it's more about the experience and how these stories made me think and feel at that particular time than anything else. It's like cherry popping or giving up your V-card, you cannot take the "innocence" and "naivete" of the experience back. Plus I dislike spoilers and rereading is a form spoiler for me. I know who the bad guys are, I know the conflict, I know how it's going down so the element of anticipation is ruined for me. I know some of you may disagree but I'm not here to argue, these are my personal reasons WHY I don't reread.

However I'm now rethinking my stance. See, there are so many variables that goes into reading especially if one is a hobbyist blogger like myself. It's not cut and dry like some of these publicist, authors and tour organizers might think. There's our mood, our preferred genre, our own prejudices and dispositions on certain topics, and whether or not the book we're reading is something we picked for ourselves, was recommended or was requested to be reviewed, that are in play. We're not reading textbooks, we're reading life stories! It doesn't matter if it's fictional or as fantastical as Star Wars, these are still human experiences we live vicariously through these characters every time we flip the page so one can expect that the review will be 75% emotional and 25% other stuff. Especially for unpaid blogs. Most blog reviews are as personal and as subjective as it can get and it all points to some of the variables I mentioned above. 

Case in point, two years ago if you handed me an erotica novel to read I'd probably think long and hard before I say yes not unless there's an irresistible incentive that goes with it which will benefit Talk Supe. It's partly due to my uninformed and biased ideas about the genre that made me shy away. When one mentions erotica the word porn enters my mind and I don't really like reading porn, given the choice, I'd rather watch it. Now that I have a better understanding and appreciation for the genre, I can comfortably read, enjoy and even rave about erotica. In fact some of my favorite books belong to the genre! 

In conclusion, now I'm revisiting some of these reviews that I wrote. Some of the mad gushing/griping I did for certain books I feel no longer apply and I'm almost tempted to revise and/or change the rating I gave. But that's such a tedious task and I'd rather read than edit. For now I'll leave everything as it is but I might change my tune when someone asks for a recommendation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my monthly ramblings.

September 28, 2013

Bought Borrowed and Bagged #69

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 or gifted) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and book movie or television news. 

BB&B is an homage Barron's Books & Baubles from Karen Marie Moning's smash hit series, Fever. 

for 99 cents from Amazon

from Publishers, Authors and Tour Organizers

This week is probably my favorite BB&B edition because of these goodies!

Possession by J.R. Ward is so pretty I just want to keep staring at it. The Better To See You by Kate Serine is so precious, it's my favorite in the series so far and I wish Lavender came with the package so I could hug her. Kate also included signed samplers and swag to go with it. Giving Up The Ghost by S.A. Price was also a surprise and it had some awesome swag that went with it.

AND be stand-by because I'll be sharing the extra swag soon!

By now you should've noticed that I'm a cheap reader (I call it smart) and I'm always on the hunt for bargain books. I shared Book Bub with you before and a fellow street team member told me about BARGAIN BOOKSY. Some of you might have been using it already but for the sake of comparison, and additional info for those who are not familiar, BARGAIN BOOKSY provides more deals like 9-10 books than Book Bub's 5-6. It sends out daily alerts to your email however it only gives you deals, no freebie alerts like Book Bub. 

The next item is GRAMMARLY. Maybe some of you received the email, I tried it because as English is my second language I'm always conscious about my spelling, grammar and tenses plus Plagiarism is a big deal in the blog world so I want to stay away from these errors and GRAMMARLY checks for these. I still have to explore the site and I'm hoping it'll be a satisfactory experience.

Last Week's Reviews

Upcoming Reviews

Suzy Duffy (INT)
win 1 of 2 digital copies of Newton Neighbors
ends Sept. 29

Christine Warner (INT)
win a $25 Amazon GC
ends Sept. 30

J.R. Ward (US)
win a print copy of Covet
ends Sept. 30

Jessie Lane (INT)
win books, swag & more goodies
ends Sept. 30

J.B. McGee (INT)
win a $20 GC & swag packs
ends Oct. 1

Stacey Kennedy (INT)
win an ebook of Bet on Ecstasy
ends Oct. 1

Marie Hall (INT)
win a $50 gift card
ends Oct. 2

Chelsea Camaron (INT)
win the Daddy's Girl series & more
ends Oct. 4

Naima Simone
win a gift card, bling and books
ends Oct. 4

Karey White (INT)
win a $25 gift card
ends Oct. 8

Colleen Helme (INT)
win an audio book of Carrots
ends Oct. 24

Check out these other fabulous blogs that participate in 
Bought, Borrowed & Bagged:

NOTE: This is a laid back meme so we prefer that you use your LABEL LINKS instead of your weekly permalink that way you can just post at your convenience minus the extra task of linking up.

Braine Reviews: Charming by Elliott James

Series: Pax Arcana 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Publisher: Orbit
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?
I like reading novels, fantasy novels in particular, in the male POV. It's so cut and dry and even if there are romantic interludes, it's kept to a minimum and instead maxes out on the action/adventure part of the story. It's another level when writer is a man (Hello! Jason Bourne, James Bond, Aragon & Legolas), I find these heroes fascinating in their dispassionate and ruthless approach to their life's missions and existence. And male POV driven stories is a great way to break the streak of emotionally driven novels usually written in the heroine's POV or benefit, these kinds of books reset my reader settings to factory default.

Armed with these impossible expectations, I heralded my weekend with Elliott James' CHARMING. Read the blurb and you'll understand why I'm such an eager beaver to read this.... see?! Anyway John Charming is admittedly, not a Prince. He explained that on the first part of the book so any fantasies I, and some of you might have, about romanticizing him is squashed. He's a warrior, an outcast, hunted, bitter, jaded and a smart-ass. He's a lone wolf and for years have been surviving hunting expeditions by his fellow Templars. Yes, The Knights Templars. Exciting right? The Templars being the hunters and John Charming as their prized buck who they will eagerly send to the taxidermist after they're done skinning him alive. So far he's been successful in dodging his fellow Templars and staying on the DL until a blonde walked in at the bar he was working at. 

And thus began the hunt for a newly bred teen vampire who's too smart for her own good. I don't understand why vampires is the first course in Pax Arcana, it's a new series and EJames is carving a niche for himself amongst urban fantasy readers, why go with the overexposed and overused vampires?! Anyway, the plot was still great, it's fueled with large amounts of adrenalin, clever plotting, smart-ass dialogue coupled with a smorgasboard of otherworldly creatures ranging from the familiar to the exotic. So aside from the fangers, we have werewolves, Valkyries, and nagas to name a few. The cast of characters are great with a some double-crossing to keep John Charming and his posse on the balls of their feet. 

The romance was very light but the implications of John having feelings for the unavailable Valkyrie, Sig, is complicated. It's a forbidden love triangle kind of thing. Thank goodness it wasn't annoying because though Sig is involved with someone, he's an ass and it's one of those cases where she owes him her life sort of and she's loathe to leave him even if he's an jacka$$. They managed to work it out in the end but as John puts it, there's not happily in their ever after. They just lived. And this is where male driven POVs is so different from it's female counterpart. If this were the latter, you bet there'd be a lot of emotional drama and sometimes, I need a break from them simpering females.
The truth is that the world is under a spell called the Pax Arcana, a compulsion that makes people unable to see, believe, or even seriously consider any evidence of the supernatural that is not an immediate threat to their survival.
The world building is impressive, it's rich and EJames did a real good job in terms of presenting the otherworldly existing side by side with the ignorant, human world. At the same time, he used too much cocoa on an otherwise decadent novel. CHARMING has the makings of being a modern fanboy novel because EJames through John, regurgitates bits and pieces of myth, lores and legends and piled together you get a novel that may give you information overload! I get it, EJames did a lot of research and wanted to give us a super unique world but it became excessive which placed speed bumps on the pace of the story. I read that EJames already trimmed his interludes down, honestly CHARMING could use another round of trimming and saved what's on the cutting floor for the next books. Here's an example:
"It's kresnik," Choo said irritably. "Not Kreskin." [to which John thought] Sometimes I forget how old I am. I thought about explaining that Kreskin was a famous stage psychic whose name was an anagram for kresnik, but let it drop.
I may not have fallen in love with CHARMING but I did like it. The first half was a little challenging to get through because of the information overload but there was enough humor and smart-ass remarks to distract me from that and have me plowing through. The second half was much better probably because I've already adjusted to EJames writing style. But hey, I wasn't impressed with Darkfever at first myself but look at where the Fever series is now? I'm not sure if this review will matter to Orbit & Co. but if maybe they could make this less of a teaching novel, I'm sure it'll be more universally appealing to the readers of the genre. Right now I feel it's limiting its audience and John Charming comes across as Mr. Know It All and I don't really want a hero who will correct or spew out trivia at every opportunity. I have Google for that. 

September 27, 2013

Tour Stop + Giveaway: Dangerous Desire by Annie Seaton

Dangerous Desire
Annie Seaton
September 23, 2013
Romantic Suspense
A desperate search…

Schoolteacher Gracie James has never seen more danger than her kindergarten classroom, but when she goes searching for her missing sister, she’s thrown into a world of sex, crime…and passion. Following a hot lead, she sneaks onto a stranger’s boat—and gets caught. Their one-sided conversation convinces her of two things. One: the guy is seriously sexy. Two: he knows something about her sister. Oh, yeah. And did she mention he’s sexy?

And a sizzling attraction…

Jake Alexander, former cop, is staking out a yacht brimming with criminal activity, for an insurance company, when a woman, dressed to kill and totally irresistible, stumbles into his dangerous undercover op. If he hadn’t tackled her, she’d have tottered straight onto the questionable yacht in those ridiculous high heels. Then she’d be dead. Or worse. As much as he’d like to kick her off his boat, he can’t risk her going off on some hare-brained scheme—but he can’t keep her around to muck up his job. Oh, yeah. And did he mention she’s distracting as hell?

Lead to dangerous desire…

Unfortunately, she has a keen mind of her own. And a body any man would die for. Jake’s attempt to keep Gracie safe quickly morphs into a reluctant alliance. And a whole lot more… But Gracie finds herself knee deep in more trouble than she bargained for, with secrets revealed and the criminals coming after her. Unless they find a way to trust each other, they’re finished. Oh, yeah. And did they mention they’re in love?

Purchase Dangerous Desire

In Dangerous Desire, Gracie is a kindergarten teacher who travels to an exotic tropical location to search for her missing sister. We don’t find out a lot about her as a teacher but her character shines through in her quest and in her relationship with Jake, the sexy hero.

Writing about her made me think about the teachers I had over my school career and the most memorable ones. One of the teachers who really stuck in my mind is one who obviously had no regard for the development of my literacy skills. Mr Young (name changed to protect the innocent) kept confiscating books from me. He wouldn’t let me read!

Can you believe that?

He had no empathy and no understanding of how what a fifteen-year old avid reader had to read the next chapter of Katherine, a historical novel in senior math. Maybe my determination to read my novel beneath the math text book was a dangerous desire...pardon the pun!

Now as a former teacher I can smile and understand what Mr. Young was doing... ah.. he wanted to teach me math...not history!

I am sure he would now smile as he watched my antics as a writer.. going out and crawling through the bush to research a scene in Dangerous Desire. I can just see him shaking his head.

I am sure Gracie would be a lot more understanding as a kindergarten teacher.


Annie Seaton lives with her husband, and ‘Bob’ the dog and two white cats in a house next to the beach on the east coast of Australia. She sits in her writing chair, gazing at the ocean and writing stories. Their two children are grown and married and she loves spending time gardening, walking on the beach and spoiling her two grandchildren. She has always been fascinated by all things romantic and has found her niche in life writing romance novels, ranging through contemporary, historical, suspense and paranormal…but all with romance of course.

Her love of reading and history began at an early age and she was a child who always carried a book (or two) no matter what she was doing. Several of her favourite books were confiscated from beneath her desk by teachers who had no understanding of her capacity to read while she was doing her schoolwork!

Her working life has seen her through several major career changes and Annie has now retired from the world of full time work and has fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

Link up with Annie
Website | Blog | @annieseaton26 | Facebook | Goodreads

Annie is giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card and Sailboat Necklace with Matching Earrings.
Good luck!

Tour organized by Buy The Book Tours

New Cover Reveal: Beyond Repair by Chelsea Camaron

Beyond Repair
Daddy’s Girls Series 3
 Chelsea Camaron
August 31, 2013
Contemporary Romance
Re-released with new cover and fully formatted September 27, 2013
Harrison and Tiffany have a long history of hooking up. Harrison decides he wants more. Tiffany, a spoiled Southern Belle is embarrassed by a working class Harrison. After over two years apart Tiffany is missing his touch. She heads to Charlotte to claim her man.  

Harrison is finally settled in Charlotte. He has a job he loves, his sister close by, great friends, and an awesome agreement going with Sophia.  

Can Sophia ever want more from Harrison than just sex? Has Harrison fallen in love or just lust with Sophia?

After all this time and hurt feelings, is he really meant to be with Tiffany? Can Harrison manage to let his guard down and find his way back to Tiffany? Will Tiffany be satisfied with a regular working class mechanic? Or is their relationship in the past and beyond repair?
Read more to reveal the new cover

September 26, 2013

Braine Reviews: Carrots: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme + Giveaway

Series: Shelby Nichols 1
Format: Mobi
Release Date: August 29, 2013
Publisher: Createspace
Source: Author 
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer. The next thing she knows, she's lying on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. Luckily, the bullet only grazes her scalp, and she doesn't suspect any lasting affects until later, when she suddenly 'hears' what people are thinking. With this uncanny ability, her life takes on a whole new dimension. Her kids think she's bossy and too old to understand them, but that's nothing compared to her husband. He says he loves her, but what is it about the redhead at work that he doesn't want her to know? As if that isn't enough, the gunman knows she can identify him, and he's out to silence her forever. In her fight to stay alive, she is saved from certain death by a handsome hit-man with ties to organized crime. This pulls Shelby even deeper into danger, where knowing someone's thoughts can not only hurt her feelings, but get her killed. 
And it all started with carrots. Literally CARROTS! Can you imagine if Shelby Nichols' plight happened to you minus the bonus of mind reading? I don't think I'll ever eat or even want to see a carrot or the color orange for the rest of my life! And that simple and ridiculous premise should give you an idea that CARROTS by Colleen Helme is a funny and hilarious read. Shelby Nichols will never be considered a plain housewife again.

The blurb succinctly explains the plot and Shelby is such a joy to read! Let me start with the minor characters. Chris, the lawyer husband, is such a darling. He's so understanding and devoted to Shelby I want him for myself. I was a little nervous at first because I half expected him to turn his back on Shelby but he stood by her to the end. Precious! I found their efforts in terms of Shelby trying not to read Chris' mind and using it to his advantage a little manipulative but funny. Come on ladies, I'm sure you would want to know what's going on on your partner's brains even for just a moment especially on those crucial times. Shelby wisely put her abilities to good use in that department and luckily, she didn't abuse it either.

The mob boss, Uncle Joey and his sidekick, Ramos, has an underlying menace going on for them but Shelby's charm won them over. Detective Harris, whom Shelby and Chris insists on calling Dimples because of his cute facial anomalies, is a funny moniker to give a homicide detective but the dude didn't seem to mind even if Chris is the one addressing him as such. The most effective member of the cast aside from Shelby is Kate, the redhead, gorgeous new hire lawyer who's got the hots for Chris. She's irritating and had me wanting to pull her hair out in so many occasions I'm so happy that she turned out to be a super bad girl and Uncle Joey's hot on her trails now. Curious to see how that will go down later on. 

Obviously CHelme's characters are wonderful notwithstanding the comical plot. CARROTS: A SHELBY NICHOLS ADVENTURE is in the same shelf as Stephanie Plum and Betsy Taylor in terms of comedy and hilarity. I love chick lit plied with mystery and CHelme did not disappoint! If only I listen to books I have a feeling that the reading experience will even be better for me.
What people think determines basically who they are. Putting a voice to thought doesn't change that. But there are times when we say thing that aren't true. Not because we want to lie, but because the truth can cause more harm than good. There are times when a satisfying lie is better than the awful truth.

Purchase Carrots 

A long career as a wife and mother while juggling several part-time jobs gave Colleen the ambition to dream of being a published author, where she could put her imagination to good use. Now instead of making up stories to tell her children, she writes books they love to read. Hopefully you will too. She is the author of three romantic fantasy novels, Songbird, Flame of Destiny and The Relic. Her Shelby Nichols Adventures include Carrots, Fast Money, Lie or Die, Secrets That Kill, and Trapped By Revenge coming soon!

Link up!

Colleen is giving away an audio book of 
Carrots (A Shelby Nichols Adventure)

Contest open internationally, ends Oct. 24.

Good luck!

New Cover Reveal: Salvaged by Chelsea Camaron

Daddy's Girl 2
Chelsea Camaron
April 5, 2013
New Adult - Contemporary
Brayden and Maggie have been dating for four years. Maggie is ready and expecting an engagement ring. Brayden has a past full of weaknesses and mistakes he can’t seem to shake. As he slowly loses everything, he also loses Maggie.

As his world unravels, can he find the strength to shake his inner demons? Does he have it in him to face the ghosts of his past? Can Maggie overcome his deceptions? Will they find a way to love and trust again? Can their love and relationship be salvaged?
Read more to reveal the new cover

September 25, 2013

A Shot of YA: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Series: Stand-alone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: Sept. 24, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA-Fantasy
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | BAM
Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.
3.5 Cauldrons
I first saw MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER by Katie Alender in Grace at Books of Love's BEA haul. The title grabs you and the cover is so divine. It reminds me of the infamous Let them eat cake!, comment Marie Antoinette supposedly said. So going into this feels like a win-win for me because I love the premise and I am fond of ghost stories. Plus this isn't just any ghost haunting, it's a ROYAL ghost haunting and I'm very curious to see how KAlender is going to unfold the plot.

The first scene when you start MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER is a teen beheaded by the vengeful ghost of France's most infamous Queen. And it doesn't stop there, the novel is interspersed with frivolous teens getting decapitated and there's a pattern. All of Marie Antoinette's victims are French teenagers who are so conceited and vain I wonder if she's punishing them because they remind them of herself or if there's more to the story than some Freudian exercise. Later on we find out that there's a method to her madness and the Queen's haunting is fueled by 400 years worth of revenge. 

The characters are a bit cookie cutter on paper. The lead, Collette Iselin, goes to a posh private school and went on a school trip to France with her cliquey friends, Hannah and Pilar, the former being the class Queen B. That will give you a fair idea of how things went down on this class trip. Typical YA clique drama, there's a lot of influential bullying, mean girl attitude and snobbery on Hannah's part and a ton of head nodding from Collette and Pilar to annoy you. But the scenes are classic mean girl tales so it's quite easy for any reader to get into the drama. The good part is KAlender kept this to a minimum to keep the focal of the story on Queen Marie Antoinette's haunting, the imminent threat she poses and solving the mystery of her revenge in a week's time.

Collette is a great lead and despite following the formula of redemption, mean girl turned good girl, her character development is still cool to follow. The most interesting part about her character is her connection to Marie Antoinette and why La Reine is haunting her. It's not really that complex and one could easily surmise why but like other novels with this vein, one has to wonder what can a 16yo teenager do to stop the Queen's murdering spree? The backstory KAlender wrote to support this might be fictitious but it's believable and wove seamlessly with historical facts. I must say I'm very impressed. 

The best part about MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER is the lack of insta-love and love triangle! Woot! There's some slight romance, the setting is in the most romantic city in the world so naturally there will be a boy involved at some point. But it wasn't the focal point of the story, it's really more of a crush or a brief fling than a passionate affair which was great because it didn't eclipse the mysterious elements of the story. So thank you, Katie, for not insulting our emotional quotient and for keeping consistent with Collette's characteristics. 

The only reason why I didn't give this a full 4 cauldron rating was the ending. KAlender built up the story really well and I was hoping for a different ending than what she gave us. It felt too easy and ordinary considering that this is Reine Marie Antoinette's ghost we're talking about and not some vengeful wench! I was expecting for something more spectacular and fitting for Marie Antoinette and not a simple exorcism. Then again, the backstory of the haunting is about betrayal, resentment, revenge, friendship and woeful regrets and that evened things up to an extent but not enough to be consistent with the build-up. Still I'm very much pleased with MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER, this is good shot of YA and I hope KAlender writes more novels like this.

Tour Stop: For Love or Vengeance by Caridad Pineiro

For Love or Vengeance
The Reborn Vampire Series
Caridad Pineiro
September 23, 2013
Paranormal Romantic Suspense
FBI Special Agent Helene Alexander is a goddess. An actual frickin’ goddess. And her mission is clear, see that justice is served at all times or her days as a goddess are numbered.

Helene’s new FBI partner defines good-looking, but Miguel Sanchez, wants nothing to do with her ends-justify-the-means attitude. He knows through experience the type of guilt her actions can bring and Miguel wants nothing to do with Helene’s careless ways. Even if she’s so damned hot she makes him burn with the need.

When the serial killer they’re tracking strikes again, Helene and Miguel are drawn into a case that will challenge their most fundamental beliefs about justice and vengeance. But it’s the passion between them that forces a goddess to choose: eternal life with all her powers…or death—to save the man she loves.

Peace filled Helene as Miguel lazily stroked her back. She snuggled closer to the warm strength of his body and he splayed his fingers across the small of her back to urge her even closer.
She went willingly, basking in a serenity that filled a part of her that had been empty for so long, she hadn’t known it could be any other way. But now she knew. And when he was gone from her life, as surely he would be soon, she would feel that emptiness even more profoundly.
“Helene?” he asked. “You okay?”
“Yes,” she replied, unwilling to allow him further entry into that space. Distracting him from probing deeper by saying, “I’m just thinking about the case.”
“We’ll get a break soon. I promise.”
Such earnestness in his voice and the way his hand tightened at her waist. But then, she had sensed that determination in him from the first. Admired it.
“I know, Miguel. I just wish we’d had that break a little sooner.”
“Yeah.” He moved so they were face to face, cupped her cheek and ran his thumb across her lips. “It was hard to make the call to Lanie’s parents.”
Very hard. She recalled the words of comfort he had used, and the pain in his voice as he’d said them.
Which was only a fraction of the agony in the cries and denials from the girl’s parents when he had broken the news.
But he had done it, gracefully and full of compassion.
Raising her hand, she trailed it over the tight line of his jaw. “You handled it well.” Far better than she could have. In a few hours, they would have to speak to the roommates. “Will you tell her friends? I’m not sure I…”
“Can do it right?” he completed for her. He touched her chin with his fingers and urged her gaze upward. “I know you feel for them.”
He moved his hand down to her heart. “I see you hurting. I understand how much you want justice for Lanie.”
She glanced down to where his hand rested. She covered it with hers, pressed it tight, until he could feel the steady beat of her heart. A human heart that was filled with uncertainty.
Not like her real heart. Her immortal heart knew no doubts or hesitation. Only black and white. Only true justice.
“Maybe the pain I feel is because I’ve failed. Failed to find justice,” she said, unwilling to believe it was about anything else.
He shook his head. “You know that’s not true. You feel pain for the victims and their plight. And you haven’t failed. This was a setback, yes. But we will not fail. You know that.”
She wanted to believe him. She wished that she wouldn’t disappoint his belief in her. And yet she knew she would. “The only thing I know for sure is that I want this bastard to pay for his crimes. That’s the only certain thing within me.”

Purchase For Love or Vengeance

Something The Blurbs Doesn't Say

Thank you so much Talk Supe for a chance to spill on my latest romantic suspense release, FOR LOVE OR VENGEANCE. Actually, since we’re spilling all, it’s a vampire romantic suspense because I just love mixing things up.

Why do I mix it up? I guess because I’ve always loved action and adventure and 
FOR LOVE OR VENGEANCE has a good amount of it. But I also love things that go bump in the night, especially those dark and sexy vampires. This one even takes the paranormal a step further because the heroine is something very different: A goddess.

Yes, Helene is the Goddess of Vengeance and she will do anything to catch the Broadway Butcher, a serial killer who is torturing and murdering young actors in Manhattan.

But along the way to solving this mystery, Helene will have to deal with her attraction to her new partner, Miguel Sanchez. Miguel is honorable, handsome and tortured. He’s getting over a civilian death while he was on his last assignment and the last thing he wants is to risk another civilian. But to avoid that, he has to rein in his do anything-risk anything partner Helene.

I loved the tension between Miguel and Helene as they get to understand each other and find balance in their investigation and with the feelings they are starting to have for one another.

Intense feelings. Conflicted feelings. I just love forcing my characters to battle for that happily-ever-after.

I think you love it, too, because it makes the happily-ever-after all that much sweeter.

So since we’re spilling here, I’d love to hear you spill about what you love in paranormals and romantic suspense!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word and in 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released. Over a decade later, Caridad is the author of more than thirty published novels and novellas. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.

Stalk Caridad

Tour organized by Buy The Book Tours

New Cover Reveal: Restore My Heart by Chelsea Camaron

Restore My Heart
Daddy's Girl 1
Chelsea Camaron
March 2, 2013
New Adult - Contemporary
Bad Boy, Ryder Davenport comes into Dina Fowler's life in the middle of her own personal hell. Still coming to terms with the death of her parents, she pushes everyone away. When she trusts the wrong man, putting her in a bad relationship she felt she couldn’t escape, Ryder comes along. Enjoying his playboy ways, fast cars, motorcycles and a new woman in his bed nightly, Ryder had no thoughts of settling down. That is, until he sees the damage a man can do when he meets a very broken Dina. He changes in hopes of one day being enough for her. But, can she ever feel safe with a man again? Ryder has restored hundreds of classic cars, can he restore Dina’s heart?
Read more to reveal the new cover

September 24, 2013

Pack Review: Venom by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin 3
Format: Mobi
Eelease Date: September 28, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Books
Recommended by: Amber I.
Source: Awesomesauce Book Club
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most.

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists.

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.
I'm getting fonder and fonder of buddy reads, I've been reading Elemental Assassin with my dear She-Wolf, Lee, and though we are so behind the series, experiencing Jennifer Estep's world and writing with her is such a blast! 

Here's half of our new reading enterprise we call

Plot and Conflict

SHE-WOLF READS:  Gin Blanco is back!  And I just have to say that this series keeps getting better and better.  VENOM, the third book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, didn’t let me down in terms of the action, the intrigue, and the romance. As usual there are two storylines that feed into each other in a very tightly knit, well-paced plot. One is the overall story arc of Gin and her quest to revenge her family’s murder and the other is the abuse and victimization of Roslyn Phillips by Elliot Slater.  Gin takes on the challenge of helping Roslyn against Slater. The fact that she’ll have to get rid of Mab’s right hand man in the process, well, that’s just a perk. I think what I found most exciting about VENOM was the development in the overall storyline. Estep provides enough answers to satisfy curiosity while also giving readers new developments that whet your appetite for Gin’s ultimate vengeance. One of the complications Estep throws Gin’s way is a new member of the Ashland police force who brings Gin’s past right into her present. I am so looking forward to seeing how this relationship plays out – it’s complex and has the potential to be either devastating or life-affirming for Gin.  Estep also gets Gin to make a major move against Mab, and, at the end of VENOM, I thought to myself, sh*t just got real.

BRAINE: Perfectly put, Lee! I am loving how with each book we get to know the other players in the series. Roslyn has been a recurring character and we know that her life as a Madame isn’t easy and VENOM really depicted the ugly side of her life. I would think she’d have more clout being the secret keeper of sorts of Ashland’s thugs but obviously she’s powerless like the rest of the town’s residents. As for the surprise character, my jaw dropped and I got so excited and couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got to that part! I started VENOM late into the night and I was so tempted to pull an all-nighter just to see if it’ll lead to confessions and revelations.
Favorite Quotes“I’m just wondering how exactly I went from being the Spider to the Robin fucking Hood of the greater Ashland area.  Three months ago, I was killing people for money.  Lots of money.  Buckets of it.  Now, tell me a good sob story instead and I’ll take care of your problems for free.  Instead of stealing from the rich, I’m stabbing them to death for the poor.” - Lee, She-Wolf Reads

“I didn’t kill people because it brough me any great pleasure. I did it because it was a job that I happened to excel at.” - Braine, Talk Supe

“I’d never killed anyone with a paddlewheel before. I might not officially be the Spider anymore, but I was always on the lookout for new experiences – and new skills to add to my deadly repertoire.” - Braine, Talk Supe

Final Verdict

SHE-WOLF READS:  VENOM was a great book, another solid addition to an urban fantasy series that is quickly clearing some space out on my Favorite’s Shelf.  Gin Blanco defines the urban fantasy heroine – smart, tough, vulnerable (though she won’t admit it), and hell bent on a righteous vengeance. Estep populated Gin’s world with equally fascinating secondary characters, and she created a series story arc that is ripe with dramatic potential. The only issue I have is that some of the writing still has the tendency to get repetitious but that is now a minor gripe, one that has waned over the course of three books. This is a great series.  Do yourself a favor and start it.

BRAINE: Amen, sister! When I was checking the book details VENOM is close to 400 pages and it seriously didn’t feel that long. It was a breeze reading Elemental Assassin 3 and if not for my book tours and all that, I could seriously binge on the series. But the best part I guess is it doesn’t look like the series will lose momentum or have “filler” novels like others. It’s solid, packed with action, mysteries piled on each other, a fantastical Urban Fantasy series through and through.