March 31, 2015

Loved It: A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes

Series: Ghostly Southern Mystery 2
Format: eGalley
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Avon Books | Witness
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Paranormal - Humorous

There's a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse

Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.

With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.

March 30, 2015

Boob Tube Binges Epic Edition: Marco Polo and World Without End


Epic - Historical | Weinstein Company | December 2014
Netflix Original Series | 10 Episodes | 1h/ep

I am not familiar with Marco Polo's story except that he walked for a long ass time. I mean only a crazy, but awe inspiring, adventurer would dare travel from Europe to China on foot during the 15th century right? So after seeing trailers of the series and knowing that it's being produced by the Weinsteing flucking Company, I know that MARCO POLO, an original Netflix series, is going to kick some major ass. 

And I wasn't wrong. In fact I binged watched MARCO POLO on the weekend it came out last December (sorry, got lazy writing up a review. Better late than never!). Color me impressed because I totally suspended disbelief from start to finish. The casting is damn PERFECT, no caucasians pretending to be Asians or Middle Easterns. The producers know what they're doing and didn't spare a single dime in bringing to life Marco Polo's epic adventure. Kublai Khan's Empire is what I imagined it to be, it's like the eastern counterpart of Ancient Rome where the population is very diverse, the culture so blended, but still very Asian. Gah! Perfect! 

P.S. The dude playing Marco Polo, Lorenzo Richelmy, is so adorbs. But the man eye candy doesn't stop there. There's quite a few hot dudes in the series that will appeal to your...ummm... worldly tastes in men.

Historical Drama | Sony Pictures | October 2012
Reelz Original Series | 8 Episodes | 1h/ep

WORLD WITHOUT END is the series sequel of Pillars of the Earth (and I'm kicking myself for not catching the series when it was on Netflix) based on Ken Follett's novels. I haven't read Mr. Follett's novels but I do love drama set in medieval times. 

Set in England during the 1300s, the series chronicles the lives of ordinary citizens. Edward III leads the nation into the Hundred Years' War with France, while Europe is bracing for the Black Death. Caris (Charlotte Riley), a visionary woman, and her lover Merthin (Tom Weston-Jones) build a community that stands up to the crown and the church.

Any epic fantasy reader will find this series hard to resist because of the premise alone. Once you see the drama unfold, it's even harder to peel your eyes away from the screen! It's like a dark-ages soap opera with bastards rebelling and saving the day, forbidden romances, enduring love. Then it takes a sharp turn to the left with murder, adultery, patricide, and rape to name a few. 

There's so many threads to the story which resulted to WORLD WITHOUT END having mini lead characters. Caris and Merthin might be the MC's but there are other couples and partners that make up this enthralling story. The hook for me was the arc involving the King. Oh man, oh man, oh man! It was 3am when I got to the episode that had the big reveal. And as sure as the sun is about to rise in a couple of hours I had a big jolt of adrenalin and delayed sleeping for another two hours just to see the climax and conflic-resolution through. Goodness gracious! The possibility of it actually happening in reality is not only scandalous, but tragic. 

So totally fangirling here and I'm aware that I'm being vague. It's intentional and I hope I got y'all curious enough to at least check the first episodes of both MARCO POLO and WORLD WITHOUT END. The first one will at least impress you with the production, the second one will surely get you hooked! Happy watching!

March 29, 2015

Shelly's Steampunk Sundays: Dawn's Early Light by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Series: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences 3
Publisher: Ace Penguin
Released: March 25, 2014
Source: Amazon
Format: E-Book | 384 pages
Genre: Adult Steampunk
Working for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, one sees innumerable technological wonders. But even veteran agents Braun and Books are unprepared for what the electrifying future holds…

After being ignominiously shipped out of England following their participation in the Janus affair, Braun and Books are ready to prove their worth as agents. But what starts as a simple mission in the States—intended to keep them out of trouble—suddenly turns into a scandalous and convoluted case that has connections reaching as far as Her Majesty the Queen.

This post is going to be a bit different from my other review posts in that Braine and I discussed doing the top 5 reasons why I loved DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT. So, without further adieu, let's get right to it!
  1. Eliza Doolittle Braun - Eliza is an agent with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and something of a rogue. She's known as a colonial, having been born and raised in New Zealand before catching the eye of the Ministry. Eliza is the most kick-butt female heroine that you will read about in the Steampunk Genre. She loves to cause trouble, she loves guns, blowing things up, and is the furthest from a Mary Sue character that one can hope for. Eliza faces villain after villain with a grin on her face, and a snarky comment on her lips.

  2. I loved that Pip and Tee takes our intrepid heroes, Eliza and Wellington Books, to the US in the late 19th century where they meet their counterparts from the Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical. I think the newest setting is just what readers need instead of the same old same old. The authors take our heroes, plus new partners Felicity Lovelace and Wild Bill Wheatley, on a cross country journey from North Carolina, Detroit, Arizona, and finally ending in San Francisco where things come to an interesting head. The journey and the action will boggle the readers mind, and keep them from being bored.

  3. Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire - Welly, as both Eliza and I like to call him, is the Archivist for the Ministry. He's been with the Ministry for 8 years, and his entire world has been turned upside down by one Eliza Braun. Books is something of a mystery, but has now been elevated to the status of Agent thanks to his and Eliza's actions against the Phoenix Society. I will say that part of the mystery surrounding Books is covered in The Diamond Conspiracy which releases March 31, 2015. Welly is a sharpshooter, inventor, and just wait until you get to reading his latest invention!

  4. I do love the fact that the authors don't gloss over Thomas Edison's participation, but makes him a legitimate villain who is working in conjunction with Eliza and Welly's nemesis the House of Usher. I also love the fact that the authors added Henry Ford, as well as Nikola Tesla. Both of these gentlemen were ahead of their time, and created some amazing inventions that we are still using today.

  5. My only real hesitation about giving this book an even higher rating, is the unresolved issue between Eliza and Welly's kiss in The Janus Affair. THIS issue forced me to bite my tongue several times throughout the book. THANKFULLY! This is easily resolved by taking 5 minutes to fix. I actually found the mix of Eliza and Wild Bill interesting. The two of them together are a thrill ride that just won't stop.

In the end, DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT is a wild journey with plenty of action, twists, revelations, danger situations, romance, and a shocking ending that leads directly into the fourth installment called The Diamond Conspiracy which I shall be reviewing on Gizmos Book Reviews on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Read a more detailed review of 
DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT at Gizmos Reviews

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March 28, 2015

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #144: Orphan Black Project Castor

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

Big & Small

I may have problems getting into urban sci-fi books but I can't get enough of it onscreen! ORPHAN BLACK is my favorite because Tatiana Maslany is a certified Lady Boner, plus the story has so many twists and turns. The series is basically about a cloning experiment that got out of hand, and now the clones are uncovering the secrets, and unraveling the powerful group's control over the entire project.

ORPHAN BLACK Season 3 starts on April 18. Check your local listings for the schedule.

Last Week's Reviews
win a digital copy of A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING
ends 3.31.15

Stacey Kennedy
win a Fetish Fantasy Sub & Dom kit!
ends 3.31.15

Cecilia London
win an ebook of DISSIDENT
ends 3.31.15

Chris Karlsen
win SILK, swag, & a GC
ends 4.2.15

Katy Evans (US/CA)
win a print copy of Manwhore
ends 4.8.15

It's a new year and there's a new linky for my humble weekly recap meme. Whether you're a return participant or a new hopper, THANK YOU for joining, your participation is much appreciated. 

Also as this is a laid-back meme, please use your LABEL OR TAG LINKS and not your post links that way you don't have to update your linky every week. 

March 27, 2015

Quick Hits: Tiffany Reisz, Kate Meader & Molly Harper


Flirting With Fire | Hot In Chicago 1 | Kate Meader
Contemporary Romance | March 24, 2015 | Pocket Books

Flawless. That's Kate Meader's FLIRTING WITH FIRE in one word. I initially rated Hot in Chicago 1 4 stars in GR, but now that I had time to mull it over I have to say this is one of the best contemporary romance I've read for the year. 

The plot is very straightforward, hot, ambitious, take-no-prisoners girl, Kinsey Taylor, meets drop dead gorgeous Cuban-Irish fireman, Luke Almeida. They fell in love, had issues that were totally realistic, broke up, got back together, and lived in domestic bliss. What makes FLIRTING WITH FIRE such a stand-out novel for me is the way KMeader introduced the series as a whole. Multiple characters combined with an array of introductions can be dizzying, and tend to take away from the plot and romantic development of the featured couple. Surprisingly that was so not the case here! KMeader was so clever in introducing the Dempsey brood, pairing up future couples, setting the framework for future books, while still managing to provide a brilliant and totally swoony love story between Luke and Kinsey. Contemporary romance series can usually be read as stand-alones, I do NOT recommend that here. You'll miss a lot of small but totally decadent bites from the other characters if you do so. Final verdict: FLIRTING WITH FIRE is a MUST read.

The Virgin | Original Sinners 7: The White Years 3 | Tiffany Reisz
Contemporary Erotica | March 31, 2015 | Harlequin Mira
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

THE VIRGIN by Tiffany Reisz is another memoir-like novel. This time Kingsley Edge tells the tale of how he met Juliette, and that time when the precocious Nora Sutherlin, then Eleanor Schreiber, devirginized a novice. Interestingly, this novel finally tells us in detail the time when King knocked up Nora all those years ago and the falling out that happened between them, including Søren, all those years ago. My favorite part would be Nora's somewhat cathartic conversation with her mother. The two have been at odds wth each other for the longest time and seeing them form a truce before Nora's mom passed is a gift. THE VIRGIN also includes the birth of Nora Sutherlin, erotic writer.

Prepare for a lot of debauchery! Though THE VIRGIN isn't my favorite book in The Original Sinners series, I still enjoyed the backstories. I have to say though, Kingsley is giving Nora a run for her sexy millions. I find myself adoring his style over Nora's in this one. Nora's sexual adventure with her nun, though hot, pales in comparison with how King met the lovely Juliette with all it romantic interludes and passionate honesty. Overall, I am loving the concept of The White Years, these Sinners combined have slept with thousands of people. And due to and kinky proclivities, I'm sure that they will never run out of great stories to tell. I can't wait for Søren to tell his tales although I'm slightly nervous because his are more horrific than lovely. Still, don't pass-up reading THE VIRGIN because men in kilts!

The Novella & Serial

The Red Years

The White Years


Giving these Molly Harper books both threes.

Better Homes and Hauntings | Molly Harper
Paranormal Romance-Humorous | June 24, 2014 | Pocket Books
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Lots of people have compared BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS with Scooby-Doo, possibly because of Molly Harper's foreword, paying homage to her childhood cartoon pleasure. IMO, this novel is more like an HGTV Halloween special than a Shaggy & Co. inspired retelling what with all the renovations that happened, building and romantic drama between the characters, with minimal ghost hauntings and possessions. It didn't blow me away, but it's still a fun and very entertaining story. I loved the characters, and if this is indeed Scooby-Doo, Velma Dinkley would be in the spotlight. Meaning it's the nerds that's leading the cast y'all! And you know I love my underdog super smart geeks! 

BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS still delivered the same brand of snark and wit MHarper is known for. I just found it lacking in paranormal hyperbole. The ghostly apparitions were few and far in between and wasn't menacing enough compared to the usual and expected ghost tales. Also, the present-day antagonist isn't anything like the pretend-supernatural villains that we came across in the Scooby-Doo cartoons. The bad guy here was watered down and lurked in the shadows than actively terrorizing the cast in every turn. However, I did love all the ridiculous arguments between the case and there's an abundance of funnies making reading this novel still worth my while. And even if I wasn't stupefied by the tale, BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS was beyond entertaining! Super light and fun read, it's definitely a great reading vacation.

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire | Half-Moon Hollow 3 | Molly Harper
Paranormal Romance-Humorous | March 24, 2015 | Pocket Books
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Yup, I did a Molly Harper mini marathon because I was going through a slump and I wanted something that begs not to be taken seriously. And who else can I turn to but MHarper?! THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE is the third novel (there are novellas in between) installment of the crazy ridiculous and hilarious series, Half-Moon Hollow. We're in for a corporate vampire treat her that's packed with office politics and romance. It's been a long time since I read the previous novel, A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses, so I'm very thankful for the short recaps MHarper inserted in between scenes which included cameos of previous characters, and brief rundowns of how everyone is connected/related. 

Though I liked HUMAN computer programming genius, Gigi Scanlon, and her Buffy moves, I didn't find her as funny as Nola (the lead in the previous book). Also Vampire Nik might be very gorgeous, but he's not as funny as the other dudes. Still I enjoyed their little tale, Gigi and Nik's is literally a predator-prey tyoe thanks to a spell that was cast that had Nik attacking Gigi out of nowhere. Thank God for tasers and silver stakes disguised as a hair brush! There's a lot of awkward and hilarious moments here, and for the laughs alone, I'd recommend you read THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE. It sure put me in the mood for more comedy and vampires!