September 30, 2014

Loved It: Chained by Night by Larissa Ione

Series: MoonBound Clan Vampires 2
Format: Mass Paperback
Release Date: Sept. 30, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Leader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction—or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation.To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader’s daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans.

But survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress’s identical twin sister?


"Why did groupies think vampires liked dog collars?"

"I'm not going to be the guy who gets turned into the Hulk because of a lab experiment." [Jaggar]
"Please," Grant drawled, "if anything you'd end up like Wolverine."

I was supposed to have died at birth," she rasped. "Every day beyond that is a gift. If I died today, I still would have lived decades longer than I should have." -Aylin

"I came to be with you but it looks like you've already been used," -Hunter

While Bound By Night gave us a sort of dystopian feel focusing on vampire-human dynamics, CHAINED BY NIGHT showed us how utterly fucked up vampire relations are. For a race whose numbers are dwindling and are overpowered by humans, these vampires are idiots for killing each other instead of banding together and coming up with a game plan to even up the playing field.

Photo credit
Anyway, I'm going to break it down quickly for y'all because I'm aware that some of you have either read early reviews, have read this, or are currently reading CHAINED BY NIGHT so I'll keep it simple.

  • Hunter is so edible! I mean he gave me (hot 'n sexy) flashes of Daniel Day Lewis a la The Last of the Mohicans. Oh baby, take out that tomahawk but keep the loincloth!

  • I enjoy the Native American influence among the clans as well as the traditional-progressive struggle between them. Keeping tradition was the source of some of the conflict between MoonBound and the other groups like ShadowSpawn. 

  • Bound by Night gave us the scientific version of what and how vampires are, CHAINED BY NIGHT gave us their cosmology. Samnult, their demon creator, is such a cunning antagonist and I look forward to knowing more about him and what other shiznit he's got up his sleeves. 

  • Twinning! I know twins are the subject of much (nasty) fantasies but trust me, Rasha and Aylin will crush that fantasy. Well Rasha will anyways... bitch be cray cray!

  • I love Aylin but she's too goody goody for my taste. She grew a pair but I prefer my chick a bit rough around the edges. 

  • CHAINED BY NIGHT has some pretty hilarious moments that had me laughing out loud, no joke. 

  • Take out your camo because shit got real between the vamps here. These fangers don't posture around with their chests puffed out, when they say war they mean war. There will be blood and there were lots of it! 

  • I love the magic but I felt it was a bit convenient here. 

  • It goes without saying that the romance is scorching, hot, sexy, and every adjective you can think of to describe an intense relationship. The forbidden element added a delicious layer to Hunter and Aylin's love affair and you'll be kept at the edge of your seat waiting for the resolution. And it was worth the suspense. 

  • You'll hate Myne and Rasha and they'll make you hate them so much that you'll want LIone to write them a book so they get redeemed. 

CHAINED BY NIGHT is just one darn good sequel. I grew tired of vamps but LIone made me enjoy them again.

September 29, 2014

Sarez Loved It: A Little Faith by Emma James + Character Chat

A Little Faith (Ocean Beach, # 1)Series:  Ocean Beach #1
Format: ARC
Release Date: October 9th 2014
Publisher: Author
Source: Author 
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
I had no idea a carefree island vacation would tear my life apart.
But now it’s time to put my walls up, make them impenetrable.
It’s the only way to survive.

Six Years Later…

Harley, the protector. Retro, the straight shooter. Keanu, the funny bone. Levi, the model. And Text, who can’t seem to find himself.

All their lives were permanently altered by one event.

With a pact made, these five best friends need something from Faith.

Is she ready now to give them what they have been waiting for?

Join Faith as she goes on an emotional and heartwarming discovery where all may not be what it seems.

But with every ending, comes a new beginning, a second chance.

You just gotta have A Little Faith...

Welcome to Ocean Beach.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
~ Bob Marley

If you only read one book this year then let this book be it. It's a story of strength, courage, survival, love and friendship. Bound by unbreakable ties and a past that they all bear scars from, the Ocean Beach gang all have their own burdens to carry and their own tale to tell. It's a tale that you want-no need- to hear.

From the very first chapter my heart broke and mended itself countless times as I followed this amazingly beautiful story. It had a little bit of everything - I laughed as well as cried and I enjoyed
every minute of this story.

The characters came alive on the pages and I lived every moment alongside them all. Lovable and flawed by the end I felt as though I knew each if them personally. That I had seen a part of their souls.

This book goes above and beyond a romance novel. There is a depth to the story and characters that is often missing in todays books. Told in the first person with multiple POVs the story unfolded and flowed effortlessly, allowing me a personal insight into the characters state of mind.

Emma James has nailed it. If this is how she writes her debut novel I can't wait to see her next work. I cannot wait to read the next installment of the Ocean Beach series.

Okay, so I have finally arranged to meet up with some of the Ocean Beach guys, let me tell you these
guys are uber hard to pin down. I have caught up with Harley, Keanu, Slade and Retro who is the
owner of Peace, this super cool café we are at.

Sarez: Hi guys! Thanks for meeting with me today. I know how busy you guys can get.

Harley: Thank you for joining us , Sarez.

Slade: Pleasure, darlin'.

Keanu: Hey  honey, how are you doing? You can sit next to me.

Retro: Hey Sarez, nice to meet you.

*winks at Keanu* I just might do that! (Whispers behind my hand "OH my gosh,
they are even better in real life)

Sarez:  Ok - so obviously I have read the book and I absolutely loved it. I have just a few questions for you guys and I will try not to give to much of the story away. I want the readers to discover you all as I did.

Sarez: So give me one sentence that sums up your outlook on life?

Keanu: I'll go first, I always have something to say.  I keep my outlook tattooed on me.  'That which doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger.' They are powerful words, honey.

Retro: Yeah, dude. I hear ya. Mine would be...second chances rarely come about, so don't waste it. I like to shoot straight from the hip.

Slade: *grunts shifts nervously in chair * I'm still working that out a bit.

Harley: I'm very protective of my friends and family. I have a strong need to protect.

Sarez:  I like that. I love how positive you guys are, considering. You all know how to play hard and take risks. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Harley, Keanu and Retro all smile at each other.

What haven't we done?

Keanu: We were pretty wild in our college years.

Retro: Hell. Yeah! Quite a few broken bones when we were younger. Nothing too serious when we got into college, but we sure took it up a notch or two.

Harley: Man, those days with Chance were the best days.

Keanu: Fuck...I mean... far out the things we got up to with wing suit jumps off mountains and jumping out of planes with parachutes on...

Retro: Yeah. They were good times. Surfing the waves off Sunset Cliffs, parkour around the college.

The three guys lean over and bump fists.

Walking through enemy infected terrain.

Keanu: Bro. That's crazy real, right there.

Sarez: * tries to smile at Retro, Harley and Keanu while appearing equally somber toward Slade*

Ok whoa, sorry Slade, didn't mean to bring up any bad memories for ya.

Slade: * shrugs*  Life of a soldier. Shit happens.

Sarez:  Okay so onto a lighter subject then, girls. You all look like you have no problems with the ladies. Tell me what qualities a girl must possess to endear you to her?

Keanu: GIRLS! I love this subject. I like being subjected to girls.

Harley: * rolls eyes at Keanu * Honesty and being faithful.

Slade: I like a strong woman who I can peel back the layers and find the softness that will be underneath.

Keanu: I know a strong woman, her name is Phoenix.

Retro: Yeah. She's my sister!  * eyeballs Slade *

Slade: What?

Harley: * rolls eyes *

Keanu: You know... that woman, who antagonizes you. The one with the nice ass and great set of tits.

Harley: Keeaannnuu.

Keanu: What?

Slade: * grunts and plays with salt shaker *

Keanu: OOo, we are supposed to pretend we don't see what is going on between those two. I think it is called sexual tension. Ok my woman, would like a fun nickname, because that is the way I roll. She would be somebody who effects me on a deep level. I haven't met her yet. I assume it will be like a bolt of lightening to my heart and all that lovey dovey stuff that apparently goes on when you find THE ONE. Retro, I notice you have gone quiet. Cat got your tongue?

Retro: * looks at Slade for a while *  Sarez, my lady, you have met, she is my everything. We are gonna make babies and have them crawl all over this lot.

Sarez: Yes Retro I have. She's a pretty special girl and I wish you the happiest of ever afters with her. I am sure your babies will have these guys twisted around their little fingers from the moment they are born. So Slade do you want to add anything about Phoenix here? You know I think she is a total kick ass chick.

Slade: * squirms uncomfortably as all eyes are on him *, darlin'. I'm good. She is kick ass. True.

Sarez: So once you have these girls, what kind of date would you plan with them to totally sweep them off their feet and make them want nobody else?

Harley: Good question. I think we have all been coasting along with a carefree attitude to sex and women... now you have me thinking.

Retro: Well, I myself like to sit down at my dining table to have something exceptionally good to eat for starters. I managed to sweep my woman off her feet by being me. We had a deep connection, things came to light and we moved forward. I know what she likes and I make it into a date.

Slade: I would like to totally surprise the person I was interested in with a spontaneous date. No chance to back out.  I am not sure what I would do yet, but, it would have to be outstanding. Memorable.

Keanu: You sound like you have somebody in mind and you have been thinking about it.

Retro: * raises one eyebrow at Slade *

Slade: * mumbles * Josie's coming with our drinks now. I need that strong black, about now.

Keanu: I think our first date would take us both by surprise. We probably wouldn't even know we were on a date. I know it will be different, I know it will be life changing.

Retro: Look at you getting all deep.

Keanu: You would know, bro.

Sarez: Okay so you guys are pretty sweet except Retro - I totally can't look at you right now. I think I know what you are getting at. I am going to change the subject again before this conversation goes any further down that path.

Retro: * laughs out loud * Sorry sweetheart,  I forgot you have read the book.

Sarez: So I am a huge animal person. I absolutely adore them - if you could liken yourself to any animal what would it be and why?

Slade: Eagle. I like to observe. I am patient when it comes to my prey. I enjoy the hunt.

Keanu: Wow, man. You are scaring me.

Slade: The only people who need to be scared are the ones doing wrong.

Harley: Lion or tiger. I will protect my pack.

Keanu: I am thinking...ummm... I am playful and like to have fun, so maybe a chimpanzee.

Retro: Easy a horse. I like to be ridden bareback.

Sarez: *looks warily at Slade* Yeah remind me to behave myself around you Slade. They are awesome answers, I can see it too. Especially you as a chimpanzee, Keanu. But Retro your mind has gone a wandering now I think, so I will probably end it here guys.

One last thing before we finish though, I love you guys but if someone was to ask you why they should read A Little Faith, what would you tell them?

Harley: I think we would all agree, this is a story about a strong brotherhood and not everything in life goes according to plan,  shit happens and each of us has something to deal with. It's a story about courage and getting through the tough times. A story about second chances.

Retro: I'm also in it.

Keanu: And I'm pretty funny.

Slade: Somebody save me.

Keanu: Well, if you asked Phoenix nicely...

Sarez: I have to agree with you there Harley. You guys are great! I have had a blast here today with you all. I can't wait to here more of your stories. Maybe we can do this again sometime. Hopefully we can get some of the others here next time - you don't mind if we do it here at Peace again do you Retro? This place is so great. I could totally handle living here.

Retro: It would be a pleasure. You might catch my lady next time.

Sarez: Well thanks again guys...until next time.

Harley: Bye

Keanu: You can sit next to me again, next time.

Slade: Bye, darlin'.

Wow. Those guys are so hot and what a bunch of sweethearts. I could have talked to them all day. You really need to meet these guys and the rest of the Ocean Beach gang. The book is released on October 9th so grab yourself a copy.

    Emma James lives in Queensland, Australia with her smexy husband ,three children and a big black Labrador. Life is busy and most entertaining in the James household. She often bounces ideas off her family and gets very creative responses. She loves to read as much as write. Daytime for writing, night time for reading.

    Emma's debut Contemporary Romance novel , A Little Faith , Ocean Beach series # 1, releases 9th October 2014.

    The Ocean Beach series, has a cast of smexi males.

    The following Ocean Beach novels will be releasing later in 2014 and early 2015:

    Hope Is Lost - Ocean Beach # 2

    Joy Is Found - Ocean Beach # 3

    Will To Protect - Ocean Beach # 4

    Follow Emma on Facebook

    Add me on Facebook | Goodreads

    September 28, 2014

    Steampunk Sundays: Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn

    Series: The Dharian Affairs Trilogy 1
    Format: Mobi
    Release Date: December 13, 2013
    Publisher: CreateSpace
    Source: Amazon
    Recommended By: Kara of Nocturnal Book Reviews
    Genre: YA Steampunk
    Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... and, of course, kissing.

    The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.

    Third Daughter is the first book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.

    Before I proceed, know that THIRD DAUGHTER is currently FREE at Amazon so be sure to grab a copy before the sale ends!

    That said, I'd like to formally thank Kara over at Nocturnal Book Reviews for reviewing this a while back. I saw the ARC at NetGalley but ignored it because the cover art did not appeal to me. Oh well, another lesson on not judging a book by its cover literally because THIRD DAUGHTER was a unique and amazing read! The blurb is spot-on in summing up this novel and for the purpose of comparisons (to convince you to read this) the world is as rich as Meljean Brook's Iron Seas although on a micro level. The story is concentrated on Dharia, the Steampunk version of India, and its relationship with the neighboring states/regions. The plot is politically driven with a side of romance, lots of intrigue, treason, and double-crossing. 

    5 Reasons why you should read THIRD DAUGHTER

    1. It's Bollypunk y'all! Like Bollywood minus the song and dance numbers and definitely badass. The world-building is simply amazing! Susan Kaye Quinn maintained the exotic and traditional feel of India and mixed it with Steampunk elements. 

    2. She kept the sci-fi simple but plausible and the Steampunk elements wondrous. My favorite is the clockwork pen and her aethroceiver which acts like Morse code device.

    3. I love the politics and how it drove the novel and the series as a whole. Arranged marriages for the sake of alliances and peace, each region having an ace up their sleeve maintaining the balance in the region whilst making peace very precarious.

    4. The spy games enhanced the mystery and suspense of the conflict. Is Prince Ash of Jungali sincere or not? Is he trying to double cross Aniri and the Dharians or is he trustworthy? Who is the real villain here? You'll have your suspicions but you won't confirm it til the end. 

    5. I'll expound more on the romance because though it's not a plot driver, it had lots to do with Aniri's character development and her relationship with Ash. There's a love triangle but it's not a deterrent, as Ash and Anari's are a political match I think it's not unnatural that one of them, in this case, Anari, is in a relationship. There's some mild tension and it was eventually resolved but as THIRD DAUGHTER isn't a romantically driven novel, the love triangle wasn't all that important nor did it have a bearing on the novel as a whole.

    Look out for...

    1. The slow burning romance. This personally didn't bother me but as a lot of you love romance in your books, there's not much of that going on here.

    2. Prince Ash is dreamy!

    3. Anari's relationship with her boyfriend wasn't resolved and this is important as said boyfriend did something bad to Anari.

    Okay the last two items aren't really deterrents so take it however you like it... THIRD DAUGHTER was such a pleasant surprise and truly unique. SKQuinn has carved a niche for herself in the Steampunk genre with this series and if you love fantasy and Steampunk then you must read this.

    September 27, 2014

    Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #119 + Fall TV Premiers

    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. 

    from publishers, authors and tour organizers

    ARCs I got this month
    Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake | Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler
    Chained by Night by Larissa Ione | Undead & Unwary by Mary Janice Davidson

    Big & Small

    So here's mini feedback on some season premiers that I managed to catch last week.
    • SLEEPY HOLLOW - The season immediately follows the finale from S1. Ichabod and Abbie are/were stuck in Purgatory. I so love the threads that were opened here especially the unrequited love between Katia and Death aka Headless Horseman. It's so frustrating that Ichabod and Katia are still not reunited after all the pain and heartache they went through in S1. Here's to hoping they manage to find a way to finally be together this year coz I hate long drawn out storylines.

    • HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER - Shonda Rhimes prints were all over the place and it's evident in the storyline and characters. Strong female lead, quirky and shifty supporting characters, witty lines, dry sense of humor, romantic intrigue. I can't help but compare it to Grey's Anatomy, a little formulaic and yet I'm intrigued. Viola Davis has a strong presence onscreen, she's captivating to watch and her character is very, very intriguing: strong yet vulnerable, independent but desperate, she's a badass lawyer with questionable scruples. Worth watching.

    • GOTHAM - Benjamin McKenzie is the last Orange County alum I expected to remain relevant in TV land. I love surprises and I have to say his boy-next-door looks is a great contrast to his straight-laced character, young James Gordon. The whole feel of the show is more realistic and less graphic novel. It's consistent with Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy in that you won't find caped crusaders, masked villains, or colorful costumes littering the streets of Gotham. It's gritty and I'm looking forward to watching more episodes.

    Last Week's Reviews

    Upcoming Reviews
    win print ARCs from Maya Banks, Delphine Dryden, Mary Behre, & Isabel Cooper
    ends 10.6

    win 1 of 2 digital copies of SNOW FALLING ON BLUEGRASS
    ends 10.7

    win a signed print copy of RADIANT
    ends 10.10

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

    NOTE: There's a new linky created for this year and please note that you have to use your LABEL links (i.e. book haul) on the form below NOT the post link.

    September 26, 2014

    Series 101 + Giveaway: Radiant & Towers Trilogy by Karina Sumner-Smith

    RADIANT by Karina Sumner-Smith, book 1 of her brand new fantasy series, Towers Trilogy, is one of those series that has a lot of potential. It also straddles a few genres like dystopia, sci-fi and paranormal and has quite an exciting mix of elements like ghosts, abusive oligarchies, uncovnetional heroines, and SUPRISE! No romantic premise! 

    If you like the sound of this little intro, read up to find out more about Towers Trilogy.

    RADIANT | Towers Trilogy 1
    September 30, 2014 | Talos

    Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.

    When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body—any body—so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless—until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.

    With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.

    Hi Karina! Welcome to Talk Supe and congrats on the release of RADIANT! Must be exciting! Where were you when you found out that Talos was going to publish Towers Trilogy and how did you celebrate?

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: Thanks for having me! RADIANT is my first novel, and the whole publishing process has been a total rollercoaster. When I first heard that the book had an offer, I was just sitting at home – and good thing, too, because oh, I was a mess! There were some semi-incoherent calls with family and friends, some tears, and a whole lot of disbelief. To celebrate, I finally opened the fancy bottle of champagne that I’d been saving for just that moment. (I won’t tell you how many years I’d had that stashed away in a cupboard. I’m just glad it hadn’t gone bad!)

    Oh gosh, opening that bottle must've felt like a million bucks! Your dream coming true is truly a cause for celebration. I have to say, RADIANT, was such a unique fantasy read. What was your objective or thought behind it? 

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: It was really a matter of combining some of my favorite things – ghost stories, magic, post-apocalyptic ruins, cities built in the sky – and just letting my imagination run wild. One of the things I love best about fantasy is that feeling of escaping to a totally different place. That’s really what I wanted to give to readers: a fantasy world that felt new and different and surprising.

    I remember tweeting you when I started reading RADIANT regarding its genre. Can you expound on that? 

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: I think RADIANT is one of those books that exists between genres. I call it a futuristic fantasy, because the setting is our world many years after a magical apocalypse, in a new society that uses magic for everything.

    I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about whether the book’s YA or adult. Though the two main characters are teenagers, RADIANT is being published and marketed as an adult fantasy novel. Personally, I love both YA and adult fantasy, and just hope the book finds readers who will connect with these characters and enjoy the story.

    From someone who've already read RADIANT, I can say that it has that YA/Adult feel to it. I don't know if that's the best way to describe it. Shedding the fantasy elements, Xhea is a "normal" person given the circumstances. No particular characteristic that would make her strictly YA, NA, or even Adult.

    Outside the blurb, what else can you share about RADIANT and Towers trilogy as a whole? 

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: I think that RADIANT really sets up this fantasy world and magical system, and shows the reader how it all works and why. DEFIANT and TOWERS FALL are about tearing that world apart, turning it on its head – and the quest to build something new and better from the wreckage.

    RADIANT also has a fairly narrow scope, which keeps Xhea and Shai in the forefront. But the scope expands – and the stakes get much higher – as the trilogy continues. (Also: the bounty hunters that show up very briefly in RADIANT, Torrence and Daye, end up becoming much bigger characters in the next books – and oh, they’re such great fun to write!)

    What a tease! I hope you're already writing book 2 because I can't wait to get my hands on it! Now Xhea still remains a mystery to me. What and/or who is she anyway? 

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: That’s a great question – and one that drives a lot of what Xhea does in DEFIANT. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I can tell you that she’s not the only one in the City who has dark magic or the ability to see ghosts – and that learning what her power is and does tests Xhea to her limits.

    Shai is like Casper, the friendly and powerful BFF, is she a permanent character or is she going to cross over in later books?

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: While I can’t say that she’ll stay in the living world forever, she’s definitely going to be one of the main characters in DEFIANT and TOWERS FALL. She’s actually a point of view character in the later books, and the City and Lower City look very different through her eyes.

    That's great news because I am a Shai fan. I'm curious why there's no romance. Not that I'm complaining but a lot of readers love romantic tension, drama, etc. Is there a specific reason why there's zero romance here? Will Xhea have a love interest in the future? 

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: It’s certainly not because I don’t enjoy romance. Some of my favorite comfort reads are science fiction and fantasy novels with a great romantic plotline. (My top picks are ARCHANGEL by Sharon Shinn and A THOUSAND WORDS FOR STRANGER by Julie E. Czerneda. Both highly recommended!)

    The main reason RADIANT doesn’t have a romance is actually Xhea herself. Xhea’s had a hard life – she’s lost or been abandoned by the only people she’s ever truly cared for, and has built the emotional walls around herself really high. Love, for her, would need to grow from a place of complete trust and emotional vulnerability rather than physical attraction – but oh, she’s nowhere near ready for that. In some ways, RADIANT is the story of what it takes for Xhea to trust just one other person. If there was someone that Xhea was attracted to at this point in her life, her reaction would be to run away as far and as fast as she could – and to make sure that they never, ever follow.

    I do know that there’s one character introduced in RADIANT that Shai would be quite interested in if she ever met him (yes, even though she’s a ghost) … but I don’t know if their paths will ever cross! I’ll have to see what happens when I sit down to write the final book.

    And I can't agree with you more on this one. Love is great but sometimes it doesn't always have to be the be-all and end-all of every story. Her friendship with Shai fits and makes up for the lack of romance. 

    RADIANT has that dystopian air to it but not exact. What is the series conflict? To me it felt more like a broken system than a particular bad guy.

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: I think “broken system” is a really great way to describe it. So many people live wonderful lives in the City above – but their happiness and prosperity is due to the suffering of others, never mind all the people forgotten on the ground below. That’s a really classic utopian/dystopian setup in that nothing is every quite as perfect as it first seems.

    As things get more complicated as the series progresses, one thing I tried really hard to do was show that no entity in this system is all good or bad – not the characters, not the skyscrapers in the ruins, not even the floating Towers. But each have goals and people to protect, and will sometimes do some very morally questionable things to achieve those goals, and to protect their citizens and loved ones.

    The floating towers are spectacular! I love the world you created with the Towers and magic. Can you give the Supies a brief background about the setting because world building is a very important element in fantasy so let's give them a good teaser!

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: It’s a world where absolutely everything runs on magic. Magic is money. You need magic to buy food, open doors, sign your name, take a taxi – everything. Magic is also what keeps the City’s floating Towers aloft – and the Towers battle, day and night, fighting each other for the best positions in the sky.

    Because the Towers need so much magic, the people with the strongest magical power are highly prized. Strongest of all are the Radiants, like Shai, who become literally bound to their Towers like living batteries. But if you make too little magic – if you’re just naturally poor – the Towers have no use for you. You’re left to scratch out a living in the Lower City, the ruins on the ground. 

    Xhea, a homeless girl who lives in the subway tunnels beneath the Lower City, has no magic at all. Or, at least, no magic like anyone’s ever seen before …

    Favorite line/scene in the book?

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: The ending! When I started writing, I had no idea that that’s where the story was going to go – it was a total shock. And no matter how many times I re-read the book, those last few chapters are still my favorites.

    What existing TV show/book series can you compare Towers Trilogy with?

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: Oh, I’m so behind on TV shows it’s ridiculous. I was told once that RADIANT is a like ALMOST HUMAN meets GAME OF THRONES – though, given its success, I think every fantasy is compared to GAME OF THRONES these days! In terms of books, I feel that the style is similar to Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series.

    Where can readers meet you in person?

    KARINA SUMNER-SMITH: I’m going to have a book launch for RADIANT in Toronto at Bakka Phoenix Books on September 13th (come on down, fellow Canadians!), and will be at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington D.C. this November. 


    Try RADIANT for a really different magical system, a great friendship, ghosts – and my heartfelt thanks for giving a new writer a try!

    “Xhea?” That quiet, hesitant voice.

    Xhea didn’t want to turn, didn’t want to meet those strange pale eyes and all the unanswered questions in their depths. Even so, she could feel the ghost. She had always been aware of ghosts, sensing them as it seemed they sensed her; yet never before had she felt a ghost’s presence like a bruise in midair. Though she willed it to stillness or oblivion, the darkness woken inside her reached for Shai, as if by yearning it could ease through the boundaries of her flesh toward the imbalance of a ghost lit with bright magic. Perhaps it could.

    She should stand, she knew. Leave. Outside, this would soon be a morning like any other. On the edge of the Lower City core, small groups would gather: hunting parties with weapons and survival gear, planning their trips out to the badlands; scrounging teams going to search the ruins for anything usable; a few misguided souls with handfuls of seeds and fertilizer and more hope than sense. The rising sound of voices, the low roar of generators with their stinking plumes of dark smoke, the sizzle and smell of food frying. Breakfast.

    It all seemed so far away.

    Xhea turned to the ghost and found Shai watching from on high, legs curled beneath her, head cradled in one hand. There was no trace of her earlier pain and fear, only a slight wariness in the eyes Xhea knew to be blue. That was the thing with ghosts. They were terrified one moment, back to normal the next. Fears were strange and fickle when you no longer had a life to lose.

    “Can you get down here?” Xhea asked. “You’re cricking my neck something fierce.”

    “Can you put the knife away?”

    Xhea glanced at her hand, surprised to find her fingers flipping the opened knife over and over in a familiar nervous gesture. There were no traces of blood on the blade, ghostly or otherwise. Years of obsessive polishing had worn the silver clean.

    “It’s not like I’m going to cut you,” she said, thinking: Probably. Not yet, anyway.


    Xhea shrugged and folded the blade but kept the knife in hand, fingers restlessly rubbing the mother of pearl handle, its weight a comfort she little wished to banish to a pocket. Even closed, it held her attention. It was, she knew, the simplest answer to this problem; cutting the tether that tied her to Shai was the only sensible thing to do. What had she promised? A day, maybe two, and then they’d discuss more. Surely, after that night and all the distress the ghost had caused, she’d done work enough for the payment received.

    Besides, the longer she kept Shai, the greater the chances that the ghost would be called again to her body, dragged back along the second tether and into the cold shell of flesh that had once been her own. If that happened, what would keep the strange darkness from rising again? Black tears and vomit, breath and sweat, wrenched out of her regardless of what she demanded or desired.

    And that, right there, was the part of the problem that she couldn’t cut away. The darkness, she called it—had always considered it such, if only in the part of her mind where fears and bad dreams lingered. Now that she had seen it, felt it ascendant, she knew it had another name and one far truer: magic. Magic unlike any she’d known or of which she’d heard tell. Magic dark and languid, like thick oil, like branching smoke.

    Magic at last; her own magic. She choked back a bitter laugh. How long had she wished for magic, even the smallest glimmer? Her whole life, it seemed. She thought of the dark magic rushing uncontrolled from her throat and lips, leaking from her eyes and skin, and she shivered. Never had she imagined that having her wish granted could be so terrible, so horrifying or so cold.

     Read my RADIANT review here

    Karina Sumner-Smith is a Canadian fantasy author and freelance writer. Her debut novel, Radiant, will be published by Talos/Skyhorse in September 2014, with the second and third books in the trilogy following in 2015.

    Prior to focusing on novel-length work, Karina published a range of fantasy, science fiction and horror short stories, including Nebula Award nominated story “An End to All Things,” and ultra-short story “When the Zombies Win,” which appeared in two Best of the Year anthologies.

    Though she still thinks of Toronto as her home, Karina now lives in a small, lakefront community in rural Ontario where she may be found lost in a book, dancing in the kitchen, or planning her next great adventure.

    Stalk Karina
    Website | Goodreads | @ksumnersmith | Pinterest 

    September 25, 2014

    Sarez says Suped Up: Becoming Calder & Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan

    Series: Sign of Love - Aquarius
    Format: ARC
    Release Date: October 5th 2014
    Source: Author
    Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
    There is a place in modern day America with no electricity, no plumbing, and no modern conveniences. In this place, there is no room for dreams, no space for self-expression, and no tolerance for ambition.

    In this place, there is a boy with the body of a God and the heart of a warrior. He is strong and faithful and serves his family honorably. But he dares to dream of more.

    In this place, there is a girl with the face of an angel and a heart full of courage. To her family, she is the vision of obedient perfection. But she dares to want that which she has been told can never be hers.

    Becoming Calder is the story of good versus evil, fear versus bravery, and the truth that the light of love has always found its way into even the darkest of places... From the beginning of time, to the end of the world.


    I have heard so many great things about Mia Sheridan and her Signs of Love series, especially Archer's Voice. I was yet to have read one before signing up for this review even though I have had Archers Voice on my kindle for ages now. So needless to say I was more than a little excited To receive my ARC of Becoming Calder so I could finally see what the hype was all about. I was not disappointed. Mia Sheridan has a beautiful and awe inspiring way with words. This story of forbidden love and friendship is without question one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

    In a place where a little boy thinks a stolen sugar cube is a treat, who dreams of once again sneaking a taste of coca cola and cannot in his wildest dreams imagine hot water coming from a tap, a love so pure and sweet is formed. Arcadia, run by the 'prophet' Hector is a place where the workers live like slaves and the council members like kings and queens while they await the coming of a flood that will escort everyone to Elysium to live among the gods. The thing with Arcadia is that despite the inequality and the obvious difference in class, the people of Arcadia don't question it. It is their destiny and they not only accept but embrace their roles within the community.

     It's a place where a little girl has her destiny already mapped out for her, where she is groomed to be the wife of the prophet. She is the Chosen One. A little girl with ambitions and dreams of her own, whose enduring strength and gentle nature is both her downfall and her saving grace.

    There ate characters you will fall in love with like Xander, Calder's best friend and Maya, Calder's sister. Then there are many characters who you will hate with such a passion you will want to dive into the pages and kill them yourself. You can't help but connect to this entire story and it's amazing cast. The relationships these people have and the impact they have on each others lives tug on the heartstrings. 

    Becoming Calder is the most incredibly beautiful, touching and captivating book I have read. It is another nice change from the books that are currently sweeping the market. A story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Becoming Calder is an absolute must read. It ends with a cliffy but the good news is that Finding Eden is released on the very same day as Becoming Calder so you will not have to wait for the rest of Eden and Calder's Story. I cannot say enough good things about this book. If you are a fan of Romance then this book is an absolute must read. Bump it up to the very top of your TBR lists and I promise you will not regret it. 

    I have left this review quote free, to allow you readers to discover the beauty of the words in the way in which they were intended. There are so many lines I would love to share but I don't want to take away from the story.

    **Finding Eden is the continuation of Becoming Calder. Both books will release simultaneously, October 5, 2014**

    The first few pages I wanted to cry my eyes out. Not that it's incredibly sad but knowing the end of Becoming Calder and all Eden has overcome and fought for, I can't help but feel what she is feeling. Again Mia's words are already reaching out and wrapping themselves around my heart and tugging me into Eden's world. There is pain and love etched deep in the pages of this book.

    This book is a continuation of Becoming Calder and has some of our favourite characters from that one, along with some new ones. I cannot say much more as I am to afraid to give away anything that happens. But the characters are so well formed you will fall in love alongside them.

    This book has all the feels. It is a rainbow of beautiful emotion splashed in ink on pages that forms the most incredible story I have read. Mia Sheridan is truly gifted. Her words are so much more than just words, they possess so much meaning and colour. You do not simply read this book, you feel this book. From the tips of your toes to the top of you head, the emotion Mia Sheridan conveys in the book will flood your system.

    I thought Becoming Calder was amazing but with Finding Eden I have no words to convey how much more this book had. I had moments where the skin on my arms prickled before flowing into full blown, all over goose bumps. I cried, I smiled, my heart broke and mended more than once. It is not a sad book, but it is an emotion journey that you will never regret taking

    I am trying not to give anything away with this review, which is both easy and hard. I want to share everything I loved in this book, of which there is just so much but I want you to discover the beauty in this book for yourself. All I can say is read these books. Read them as soon as they are released.

    This is a story that is going to stay with you.

    I am so glad I finally picked up a Mia Sheridan book. Seriously, what the hell took me so long! Any fans of hers out there will most likely agree and if you are like me and have never read anything by this incredible author - do it!

    Pre-order your copy from Amazon now


    mias-picI’m an avid reader, and now writer! of romance and erotic novels. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband who is a police officer and my biggest fan (not necessarily in that order). We have four children here on earth and one in heaven. When I’m not sitting on my couch with my head buried in my Kindle, I can be found writing or doing anything creative from building a patio, to sewing pillows. The wild hairs I get know no bounds. Leo is my debut novel, but my head is swimming with more…

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