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July 31, 2014

Bon Appetit! Elemental Assassin's Gin Blanco on Food, Friends

Elemental Assassin 9
April 27, 2013
Pocket Books
From the Publisher via Edelweiss
Urban Fantasy

The hotly anticipated ninth novel in the hugely popular Elemental Assassin series finds Gin Blanco on a dangerous mission to rescue a friend.

When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point—can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out


Read my chat review with Lee over at She-Wolf Reads for
HEART OF VENOM here




If you're an ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN fan, you'd know that Gin Blanco's knife skills aren't limited to killing people, she's also very handy in the kitchen. Reader her books not only sets me off into a blood lust, it also get me hungry because of the foods she makes! So Lee of She-Wolf Reads and I can't help but ask her foodie questions. Bon Appetit!




BRAINEHi Gin! Thanks for visiting with Talk Supe and She-Wolf Reads!

Gin: Thanks for hosting me on your blog! I appreciate it.


BRAINESo every time Lee and I read your books, we always get so so hungry! Also Lee and I are both believers that the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach... except if you have sharp knives or something like that. Anyway! 

If your close family and friends: Finn & Bria, Owen, Jo-Jo & Sophia, Xavier and Roslyn, are food or dishes, what would they be and why?

Gin: I would say that Finn would be a hot fudge sundae – something really decadent that you know isn’t good for you, but that you just can’t help but enjoy anyway.


Owen would be a chocolate chip cookie – a classic dessert that you never get tired of and that’s always in your pantry when you need a sugar fix.

Bria would be a spinach salad – something that’s very healthy for you, since she’s so good and honest.

Jo-Jo would be strawberry cotton candy – light and fluffy – while Sophia would be bittersweet chocolate, to match the sisters’ respective personalities.




Xavier
would be a spinach salad like Bria, since he’s her partner on the police force, while Roslyn would be a mojito, since she runs the Northern Aggression night club.


BRAINE: Geez, it's too early for sweets but how can I NOT crave a sundae & some dark choco w/a glass of mojito to wash it off?!

LEE: Ha! Too bad, Braine, I have access to some of the best chocolates in the world *smirks*. Now Gin, as a cook and an assassin, have you ever thought about what you want for your last meal? As a foodie, I'm sure you kinda thought about this.

Gin: I would probably want some traditional Southern comfort food for my last meal – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, buttermilk biscuits – all my favorite foods.


BRAINE: See?! *shakes fist* You Gin Blanco are my diet's kryptonite! Sigh...Lastly, if you were to prep a special meal, entree and dessert, for your man, Owen, what would it be?Gin: I would go with dessert, and since it’s summertime, something that’s easy to make and doesn’t require turning on the stove, like this recipe:


Easy Strawberry Shortcakes

Sweet Summer Strawberries (recipe below)
1 frozen pound cake
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (or both)


Thaw and slice the pound cake according to the package directions. Place one slice of cake on a plate. Top with a generous scoop of Sweet Summer Strawberries and either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (or both). Repeat with another layer of cake, strawberries, and cream. Top with a final scoop of sweet summer strawberries. Serve immediately.


Note: You could use fresh strawberries or other summer fruits – peaches, blueberries, etc. – in place of the Sweet Summer Strawberries.



Sweet Summer Strawberries

1 gallon fresh strawberries
Sugar, to taste

Wash and cap the strawberries. Let the strawberries dry, then cut them into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Starting with about a cup of sugar, add sugar to the strawberries until desired sweetness is reached. (The more sugar you add, the sweeter they will be.)


Stir the sugar until it is dissolved and has formed a syrup over the strawberries. Serve immediately, store in the refrigerator for a few days, or ladle the strawberries and syrup into airtight containers and freeze until ready to use.

Note: These strawberries are great on toast, as part of a PB&J, or over vanilla ice cream. Also, this recipe works with all kinds of summer berries, as well as other summer fruits, like peaches.




ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN FREE READS





July 29, 2014

Naughty Nooner: White Collared: Greed & Revenge by Shelly Bell

White Collared Parts 2 & 3
eGalley from publisher via Edelweiss
 June 10, 2014
Avon Impulse | Erotic Suspense

GREED

Restrained by duty …
Reeling from a threatening phone call and frightened that her past will be revealed, Kate turns to the one man she can still trust: Nick. She can't deny her attraction to him, yet she craves the passionate connection she has with Jaxon.

Bound by passion …
Undercover at Benediction, Jaxon introduces Kate to the sensual pleasures found in exhibitionism and voyeurism. While they mingle with the club's patrons, Jaxon and Kate unearth clues about his wife Alyssa's last days that could lead them to her killer. But as she investigates further, Kate is shocked to learn of a cold case that is eerily similar to Alyssa's murder … and when the evidence ties Jaxon to yet another death, Kate begins to question everything she knows about her enigmatic lover.


REVENGE

Motivated by honor … After a gruesome discovery, the men in Kate's life unite to protect her from imminent danger, but Jaxon becomes consumed by the fierce desire to possess her fully. Kate trusts him enough to surrender to him in the bedroom, but she still fears the vulnerability of complete and utter submission.

Enslaved by pleasure … Jaxon continues to push Kate's sexual and emotional boundaries, penetrating her defenses and crumbling the walls she has built around the painful memories of her past. But just as she opens her heart and accepts a future with Jaxon, the devastating truth about Alyssa's death shatters the tenuous bond they share, testing their relationship and propelling her directly into the path of a desperate murderer.


If you haven't started WHITE COLLARED yet then girl (or dude), you are missing out on something REALLY GOOD! And I kid you not! The fact that this is a serial, and a stellar one at that, adds to its element of suspense. Shelly Bell and her editor really did good in divvying up the parts, making each ending a good cliffhanger compelling the reader to get the rest of WHITE COLLARED

Greed and Revenge focused more Jaxon and Kate's developing relationship than the murder investigation itself. Kate's foray into the world of kink isn't pretend anymore as she's grown to realize that she likes being Jaxon's submissive and playing out scenes with him. The more they romp, the more Kate explores her boundaries and Jaxon continues to push them. Even if said scenes are highly sexual and very lusty, I love how SBell wrote it. On the surface, it seems to be nothing more than a physical fulfillment of sorts but you can tell that their emotions run deep and are as colorful as the rainbow. Each one of them are slowly lowering their guards, sharing more of their demons and secrets with each other, trusting more, slowly peeling their layers until they're almost raw. I love the interplay of sexual and emotional eroticism between Kate and Jaxon. Kate isn't a virgin but this isn't a case of vanilla conversion either, Kate turning into a submissive makes sense, as if she were waiting for Jaxon to finally show how to be. 

Though I am loving this erotic suspense, I'm still not in love with Kate. It's hard to explain but there's something about her that doesn't sit well with me. She can be unforgiving and a bit of a hypocrite. I love her obvious devotion to Jaxon and her dedication to the case but there's still something about her that makes me want to stay at arm's length.

As for the murder investigation, more clues are revealed and borrowing SBell's analogy, it's like Hansel and Gretel with Kate following the crumbs that will lead her to the real perpetrator. Now what I find a little questionable is where the heck are the cops?! Jaxon's case is supposedly the murder trial of the decade and yet Kate haven't managed to cross paths with an investigator? And Kate is an intern, not even a lawyer, and sleeping with the client certainly is unethical, wouldn't that hurt their case especially when it comes to procuring evidence? I'm no expert when it comes to this sort of thing but I feel like Kate has way too much autonomy here especially when it appears like she's the next target. 

That said, I'm not ready to end the book, the pace is really great and the mystery is so thrilling. SBell really impressed me with WHITE COLLARED and you bet that I will be following her writing moving forward. This is a must-read, Supies, you should NOT miss out on this!



July 28, 2014

Loved It: Pandora's Box by Cristiane Serruya

Series: Trust Trilogy 3
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 16, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: Author
Genre: Romantica
TRUST: PANDORA'S BOX, the last installment of the TRUST TRILOGY, follows Ethan, Alistair and Sophia as each one of them strives to live happily ever after. But a greedy man, who has uncovered the many secrets and wrong deeds committed by Ethan, Alistair and Sophia, realizes they could be worth millions. Many are invited to join his team. Each one has an agenda. Each one has a target. Things get out of control when Pandora's Box is opened and the demons are let loose. With so many enemies out for revenge, what will the future bring to Ethan, Alistair and Sophia? Eventually, wishes and nightmares come true... Will hope survive? This book is the last installment of the TRUST TRILOGY and contains graphic sex scenes and mild violence. Indicated for mature audiences.


PANDORA'S BOX, a very apt title to end a passionate and captivating series. Lots of things happened in this conclusion and though I hate saying goodbye to series' I follow, this one left me very satisfied. Supposedly endings provide closure and Cristiane Serruya did more than that by adding a lot of spice that quickly turned this into romantic suspense! Oh I love the intrigue, the blackmail, stalking, and abduction which unfortunately led to death but martyrs are always welcome in my stories so I didn't really mind it all that much. At the center of it all is Sophia Liebowitz, the Brazilian femme fatale widow that everybody loves to hate and would hate to love. She's Fire and either you get warm or get burned when you get too close. I can go on about the details of PANDORA'S BOX but as this was almost 700 pages, that will be a long-a$$ review. I'll focus on the characters instead. 

Alistair MacCraig: The brooding Scottish Duke who is as enigmatic as he is broken. He crucial to the story but took a backseat here. Alistair's redemption already happened in the previous book and PANDORA'S BOX is more of a post-HEA story for him. He got the girl so what happens next? That's his storyline and it's sweet and very touching, nothing like family and love to heal a very broken man. 

Ethan Ashford: Ethan stole the show here. He lost The Girl and it took him a long time to finally get over it. PANDORA'S BOX is Ethan's story as much as it's Sophia's. Ethan made a lot of pretty effed up choices in the past and he finally got his redemption but the cost was too high. I never really warmed up to him but after knowing more about his past (his parents are sexual deviants of the most evil level) I can't help but feel sorry for the dude. That doesn't excuse his previous actions towards Sophia and Alistair but it helps to know WHERE all that anger and bitterness came from and I promise you, it wasn't a pretty picture. 

Sophia Leibowitz: Though she got another chance at love, Sophia's past is far from done with her. Remember I said you'll hate to love her? Well there are a handful of people that got burned by her fiery spirit. Not in a bad way but out of jealousy and spite. There are ex-lovers, ex-lovers of ex-lovers, former in-laws, and predators that just can't stop hating! What I love most about this young woman is she's a fighter, she might be all feminine on the outside but morphs into a warrior when threatened. Sophia doesn't need a man to complete or save her, she can do that for herself, and who doesn't love strong heroines like that?! Females who doesn't balk at life's curve balls nor shy away from love being a man's rib. Anyway, Sophia is definitely a memorable heroine, her life is what soaps are made of (the good kind) and though she was off-putting at first, she surely won me over in the end. 

Now I feel that there are a few scenes that could've been scrapped just to make PANDORA'S BOX shorter and packed. Said scenes demonstrate sweet nothings and trivial conversations and there was an abundance of those that it felt unnecessary to stress what the characters are feeling for each other. Also the characters' "thoughts" were redundant in the sense that it's over explaining things and at times it also feels passive-aggressive and I am not the biggest fan of passive-aggressiveness.

Overall, I approve (not that it matters, but I feel like using that word today) of PANDORA'S BOX and how it concluded the series. It might be long-drawn but I can see that every big event and confrontation was necessary to close off the threads CSerruya started a couple of years ago with A New Beginning. This series deserves more readership but as it's self-published, it's not getting as much buzz. So I hope this review will get some of you curious enough to try the first one, just remember, this is unlike any contemporary romance you've read, it's just DIFFERENT so try to keep an open mind. 



TRUST Buy Links








July 27, 2014

Steampunk Sundays: The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

Series: Steampunk Chronicles 4
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Recommended By: Novels on the Run
Genre: YA | Steampunk
In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.


THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART, the 4th book in Kady Cross' YA fantasy series, Steampunk Chronicles, is my favorite installment ever! There are two stories in one book, a story arc closed (maybe), an awesome budding love story, and filled with action and fantastical things! 

So I mentioned that THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is a two-in-one kind of thing therefore I'll focus on that and not bore you with the details that other bloggers have already mentioned. I'm sure other readers have already prodded and dissected this book to it's basest particle so I'll even be more subjective and a little vague for those of you who are unfamiliar with Steampunk Chronicles.

Griffin & The Machinist: These arch nemesis finally battled it out and it. Was. Pure. Suspense! These two have been dancing around each other since book 1 and the showdown finally happened! I have to admit, I was doubtful for a while there because The Machinist is one clever SOB and Griffin doesn't play dirty, the former brought the war to Griffin and took him to the Aether (like the spirit world, loose comparison) where he grew even more powerful. True, Griffin can manipulate the energies in this plane but so can The Machinist. Good news is Griffin's got a great team on his side and Finley likes to color outside the lines so they found a way to save him. Gosh, if I were the type who bites my nails, mine would be stumps by now. I was doubtful that Griffin and/or Finley would survive, KCross was relentless and kept things hanging on the edge. It was torture but I loved every minute of it!

The Crime Lord & The Automaton: I love Jack Dandy and Mila the snarky robot (oops, is that politically correct?) together! I was wishing THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is Adult Steampunk instead of YA just so KCross can be liberal with Jack and Mila's budding romance. Simply put, the tension and delicious romantic push and pull we read in historicals, Jack and Mila have except for the blistering smex. Mila may be an automaton but she's wonderfully made, snarky, sexy, smart, and a quick study. She keeps Jack on his feet and undoubtedly his equal in so many things. Jack may invoke the fear of God in a lot of people but he's putty in Mila's hand. Who doesn't love a powerful and notorious man in love? These two are the unlikeliest couple but they work and so far, the most entertaining pair in the series. Forget Griffin and Finley, let's shift to Jack and Mila instead! Now it's important to mention that part of Jack's backstory has been revealed which made my jaw drop. I can't say I was surprised since it's been speculated and to avoid spoilers, I'll sum it up in one word: SCANDALOUS! 

Obviously THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is a great series installment. I can't wait for the next one because I'm curious who the next super villain is and which character s/he will battle with. I hope it's not Griffin or Finley, let them rest for a bit, that way the other characters can shine and maybe Sam and Emily can redeem themselves, they were kinda boring in book 3, and allow the supporting cast to step up to the plate and shine on their own. Better yet, why not give us more of Jack and Mila? These two are firecrackers and I sure wouldn't mind more of the automaton and the dashing crime lord.


P.S. I was told that this is the last in the series. Obviously I've stepped out of the YA genre for far too long because I wasn't aware of this. I'm sad but at the same time, KCross ended this series well. I wish there's more!










July 26, 2014

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #111 + Homeland S4


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. 




Bought

I went to a book outlet mall and got these for only a dollar each! I was so happy you'd think I got myself an expensive purse or a pair of shoes. #bookaholicissues

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti | Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready
Hush by Cherry Adair | Gentlemen Prefer Succubi &  Succubi Like It Hot by Jill Myles



Bagged
from publishers, authors and tour organizers






Big & Small

HOMELAND fans, we can all agree that last season was an ending of sorts. With Brody dead and unredeemed and Carrie preggers with his baby, we're all holding our breath on what's going  to happen next. I. Can't. Wait!



HOMELAND season 4 premiers on October 5. Check your local listings for the sched.


Last Week's Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
Win a $50 Amazon GC
ends July 30


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.




July 24, 2014

NA Quickie: Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren, Tangled by Emma Chase & Virgin by Radhika Sanghani


Yup, my new adult haterade is at a full stop this week because these three books totally blew my anti-NA campaign out of the water! Sweet Filthy Boy, Tangled, and Virgin are all winners. All three books made me laugh and entertained me thoroughly. 

My Summer reading project is done! Not that I had one but I always make it a point to read light, fluffy, contemporary reads during this season especially since I skipped the beach this year. These totally made up for the lack of sand in my life this 2014 ;)



Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
Wild Seasons 1 | New Adult | Gallery Books | May 13, 2014


My 20-something year old self envied Mia Holland! After all the partying I did back in the day, why, oh why, did I not meet a young, hot, totally keep-able dude like Ansel Guillaume?!  *looks at the heavens and screams* WHY?!

I don't mean to be melodramatic like that but see, Mia and her friends went to Vegas for a girls-weekend after they all graduated from college. Then they met Ansel and his friends at a club, partied, got drunk, then all got married in a drive-thru chapel. Yup! MARRIED! While two of Mia's friends immediately got annulments the day after, Mia and Ansel decided to play house... in France! See what I mean? 

So we've all read books and seen movies with this trope. SWEET FILTHY BOY delivered the best type of romcom 100%. And for a new adult novel, this was far from angsty! It's whimsical, hopeful, romantic and so full of budding love I easily related to Mia's elation in landing a guy like Ansel. The dude isn't only hot, he's smart, on his way to becoming a successful lawyer, and a great lover as well. Ansel is exactly how I imagined my French lover would be if I had one. Anyway, of course there are some pretty messed up backstories but nothing so complex that it broke this two. In fact, it just made Mia and Ansel work harder to make their marriage a success. I'm not a fan of Christina Lauren's Beautiful Bastard series, DNFd the first book even, but SWEET FILTHY BOY totally converted and made a fan out of me. 



Tangled by Emma Chase
Tangled 1 | New Adult | Gallery Books | August 2, 2013


Do you guys remember the movie Van Wilder starring Ryan Reynolds? Move the setting in the corporate world and you'll have Drew Evans, corporate mogul by day, serial man-ho by night. Until he met Kate Brooks who completely gave him the flu... errr... made him fall in love for the very first time. This was a classic case of seduction told by Drew so expect a lot of lewd details and smh moments as he tells us how he made Kate fall in love with him too. 

I love TANGLED because it's a love story told in the male POV. It's unapologetic, very honest, sometimes abrasive, other times a total turn-off. But Emma Chase gave us a good glimpse of what possibly goes on in a guy's head. I still don't understand how an average male defines and exhibit romance and falling in love but through Drew, I've come to semi-accept that men are a totally different species and that I will probably never understand how their twisted mind works except when it comes to sex. 

TANGLED made me giggle-snort and laughing like a hyena! I'm only happy that I read this in the comfort of my own home otherwise I'm sure I'll embarrass myself from laughing spontaneously amidst head scratches from curious onlookers. TANGLED is a delicious mess as one guy tries to reform himself from his playboy ways to win the girl of his dreams. This is such a refreshing love story, I love the absence of girl-chatter, breaking down every word and action the guy did, no ugly crying and mascara running, no binge-eating, no Alanis Morrisette playing in the background. Just pure, unadulterated ego deflating, emasculating, mourning from a guy who always gets the girl but might not get The Girl.



Virgin by Radhika Sanghani
Excerpt | New Adult | Berkley | August 5, 2014


Hymens. Pubic hair. Oral sex. Sex sex. Love. Relationship. Friendship. These, among other things, are the themes that you will find in VIRGIN by Radhika Sanghani. It's LOL-funny, tongue-in-cheek story about a 21 year-old virgin, Ellie Kolstakis, and her desperate need to cash in her V-Card. Problem is she doesn't have a boyfriend not to mention her mountainous insecurity issues. 

VIRGIN is a girl's girl book, it's a lot of fun as Ellie says what a lot of us have thought or pondered at some point not to mention it's an unconventional love story that's sweet and empowering. I love Ellie's honesty when it comes to her body issues, relationship baggage, down to her friendships. This desperate need to become a non-virgin has made Ellie daring and quite the seductress even if things didn't necessarily end the way she wanted it. On the flip side, the same desperation grated on my nerves which had me loving and hating Ellie alternately throughout VIRGIN. Obviously she's got issues and losing her V-card to someone is only symptomatic. Gosh! I can't forget what she did with that bottle! Ugh!

Despite some cringe-worthy moments, VIRGIN is a book that you'd want to read and share with a friend so you two (or more) can laugh over it together. It's a woman's desperate journey to finding something, my interpretation is self-love but you might have a different one.

Btw, my original review for VIRGIN is going to be featured on Romance at Random tomorrow, July 25th, so I hope you find the time to check it out. Thanks in advance in you do :)








July 23, 2014

Gush & Gripe: Annoying Reading Habits


Annoying Reading Habits

I'm an annoying reader. 

I can manage to annoy myself. That's how annoying I am. 

So I'm cutting to the chase and share my bad reading habits.

  1. Reader ADD: This is very basic and though this doesn't happen to me often, it still happens to me. What is this exactly? Well it's when you can't focus on one book. If I'm going to be honest, my Goodreads currently-reading shelf should have 4 books on deck. See I'm in a mood for a book that I have no words for, it's like a food craving really. So I pick up a "maybe", read a few chapters and if I'm not satisfied I get another book and next thing I know, I have 4 books I'm alternately reading. The part of me that has OCD is shaking her head, looking at me like I just committed book murder.

  2. Suspended Ending: So I'm reading a book all day, no letting up, glued to the pages, 80% done with it. And almost always, this is the time when I think it's a great idea to start pattering around, doing other stuff than reading and finishing the damn book! This is the most frustrating part for me because I feel it's more of a compulsion than a choice. Like I can't sit still and finish the darn thing! So on average, it takes me about an hour or more to get through the last 20% or 100 or so pages.

  3. Reading the End: And when the story is too good and the action and suspense won't let up, I cheat and read the ending.

So these are my bad habits. I hope you won't leave me hanging and would go ahead and share yours? 

Pretty please?