April 30, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: The Golden Owl by Lana Axe

The Golden Owl
Clockwork Calico Book 1
Lana Axe
April 21, 2016
AxeLord Publications
Steampunk Adventure | Middle-grade to Adult

Calico Cogg is a cat like no other. Rescued from the streets of Ticswyk by esteemed inventor Lionel Cogg, she has been fitted with implants to enhance her natural feline abilities. When Lionel is kidnapped, Cali must put her skills to the test to free him.

Dark schemes are in the works—a plague of tiny clockwork spiders are wreaking havoc on the city’s inhabitants. Only Cali, with help from her trusted mouse friend Emmit, can get to the bottom of it all. With a criminal mastermind planning a major heist, Cali must race against time to unravel his plot before he escapes with the city’s greatest treasure.

I thought I'd chill this Sunday and let the super adorable Calico Cogg take over the blog for me.

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged [199]: Samuel L. Jackson

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. 

April 28, 2016

Suped Up: Empress of Bright Moon Duology by Weina Dai Randel

Empress of Bright Moon Duology
Weina Dai Randel
Sourcebook Landmark
Historical Fiction
April 5, 2016

Empress Wu kept me company during my week long hiatus. I loved the story so much because of the details I had to ask Weina Dai Randel to tell us more about the making of the duology. 

Tips to write an original novel truthful to your culture

by Weina Dai Randel

The Empress of Bright Moon, the sequel to The Moon in the Palace, has been out for a week now. The two books describe the journey of Empress Wu, who survives court intrigue, rebellion and other tragedies to become the first and only female ruler in China. The receptions of the books have been exceptionally well, and many readers were impressed with the rich historical details described in the duology. I'm pleased to hear that, and I'm glad to share my tips of how I wrote these novels truthful to the Chinese culture.

April 27, 2016

Liked It: The Other Widow by Susan Crawford

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher
Genre: General Fiction| Mystery & Thriller

The author of The Pocket Wife explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity in this sizzling novel of psychological suspense.

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

April 26, 2016

Gush & Gripe: Surveys, Goodreads, & Wishlists

Hey Supies, I'm baack!
Well, sort of and what better way to break my blogger vacay than a Gush & Gripe!

April 24, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: Clockwork Samurai by Jeannie Lin

Series: The Gunpowder Chronicles
Format: Mobi
Release Date: December 1, 2015 
Publisher: InterMix
Source: Purchased
Genre: Steampunk | China-Japan

National bestselling author Jeannie Lin’s Gunpowder Chronicles continue as a woman left adrift by the fall of a Dynasty attempts to reclaim her family’s honor...

As a physician, Jin Soling can see that the Emperor is cracking, relying on Opium to drown his troubles. The Ch’ing Empire is failing, and war with the British is imminent, but the man to whom Soling was once engaged has a bold idea to save it.

A leader within the Ministry of Engineering, Chang-wei suggests an alliance with Japan, whose scientists claim to have technical advancements that could turn the tide of the war. But Japan has kept itself in isolation for the last two hundred years, cutting all diplomatic ties with the Ch'ing Empire. Chang-wei must enter the island nation in disguise to seek an alliance—an alliance forbidden by the Japanese shogunate.

Seeking to escape the politics of the imperial court, Soling arranges her own passage on the airship to Japan. But once they land, Chang-wei and Soling become targets of the shogunate's armored assassins. Caught between two empires, in a land distrustful of foreigners, the deadly war machines are the least of their worries.

April 23, 2016

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged [198]: Hello! Is It Me You're Looking For?

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. 

April 17, 2016

Suped Feature: Second Life by Emily Reese + Character Chat & #Giveaway

Second Series 2
March 1, 2016
Young Adult | Paranormal

She thought her trials were over...

When she ended the Second Life of the serial killer turned vampire responsible for her own transformation, Claire assumed she’d be able to move on with her life. The “man” was a literal monster, and the world would be better off without him.

If only the rest of her world shared that opinion.

With the help of new allies Claire must race against the clock to prove her acts justifiable… or risk following her tormentor to the grave. And as for Mike, whose rescue was the catalyst for her current troubles, what kind of life will he awaken to? And will he ever forgive her for her actions that night?

In the thrilling sequel to Second Death, the story of Claire Wallace and Mike Monroe continues to unfold, immersing readers in the complex and often brutal world of the supernatural. A world that exists all around us.

April 16, 2016

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged [197]: The Catch, Outlander, The Jungle Book

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. 

April 15, 2016

Spring Fling #Giveaway #winnerschoice

Spring has sprung and love is in the air! Share your favorite romantic reads!

I've read a lot of amazing romances in my lifetime so it's VERY hard to pick a book, or even a LOT of books without missing anything. To dodge leaving anybody or any story out, I'll stick to the classics. Here's my favorite timeless tales!

April 14, 2016

Shelley Liked: Plush Life by Gini Koch

Series: Standalone
Format: Mobi | 420 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Source: Author
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Tom and Meggie have been best friends forever. They’ve been in love with each other for almost as long, but neither one has ever admitted it to the other. Now they work together at the Plush Life Toys, the company Tom started where Meggie is the head of sales.

Meggie’s engaged to Mark, a successful doctor, but she’s having serious second thoughts. However, before she and Tom can talk about it, they get a strange offer from their make-or-break client – go to New Orleans and convince the head of the powerful Family Mart megastore chain that Plush Life is the right kind of company to be one of their vendors. The only catch? Family Mart is the poster company for family values, and Tom and Meggie have to be married or they won’t be approved.

Meggie can’t tell Mark why she has to cancel their weekend plans because Mark doesn’t like that she and Tom are friends. What Meggie and Tom don’t know, though, is that Mark is aware of a secret that affects Meggie’s life – and he and his friends will do anything they have to in order to ensure Mark gets to marry her.

Now Tom and Meggie have to figure out their feelings for each other while trying to keep the eccentric head of Family Mart believing that they’re happy newlyweds. But when Mark and his friends get involved, they put Meggie’s life and sanity in jeopardy, and only Tom, a street thief, and the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans are going to be able to save Meggie from the devil himself.

April 13, 2016

Loved It: Picture Them Dead by Brynn Bonner

Series: A Family History Mystery 3
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Cozy Mystery

As a professional genealogist, I’ve seen enough skeletons come dancing out of closets to get a respectable conga line formed up. But they’ve always been metaphorical skeletons.

Until today.

When genealogists Sophreena McClure and Esme Sabatier are called on by Detective Jenny Jeffers to help figure out who the corpse in the backyard of her father’s house is, they reluctantly agree. Known for figuring out the unusual, Sophreena and Esme do their best to uncover the mystery behind the corpse, and the glass coffin he’s buried in. Word soon spreads about the bizarre burial site, leading the people of Morningside to “adopt” the corpse and begin leaving mementos in memoriam for him. But when the body of a young woman is found near the memorial, the duo has another task on their hands: to dig into the past of the house’s previous owners. Could the clues to a recent murder finally help this soul rest in peace?

3.5 Cauldrons

April 12, 2016

Loved It: Claimed by Elle Kennedy

Series: Outlaws 1
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Signet
Source: Publisher
Recommended By: Jessica Haluska
Genre: Romantica | MC | Post-Apocalyptic

The bestselling author of the Killer Instincts novels “knows how to write scorching sexual tension” (USA Today). Now she really sets it on fire in a new series about men and women living on the edge of violence, sex, and life and death.

After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has only known the oppressive life under her own father’s tyranny. She finally escapes, branding herself an outlaw and hunted by the Enforcers. Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.

As the leader of a band of outlaw fighters, Connor can’t resist the beautiful stranger who asks for his protection. Despite his reservations, he agrees to introduce her to a whole new way of life. But when Connor discovers Hudson’s connection to the enemies of liberty, he wonders how far he can trust the woman who has abandoned all inhibitions to challenge every forbidden desire.

April 11, 2016

Liked It: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Series: You 2
Format: eGalley
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice.

April 10, 2016

Book 101: Key of Mystery by K.H. Mezek

Night Angels Chronicles 1
Young Adult Fantasy
Evernight Teen
February 20, 2016

“Be careful who you love, it just might kill you.”

When Sera’s father is killed in a horrific accident, all he leaves behind is a mysterious key. Sera places the key on a chain around her neck and vows to avenge her father. Strange characters arrive in town including the otherworldly Night Angels, who claim to be sent for her protection.

Sera falls hard for one of them—exotic, arrogant Peter. But what if his promise of love is only a ruse to gain access to the key? As Sera’s connection to the key grows, so do her supernatural powers. Guided by clues left by her father, Sera searches for the hidden chamber beneath the city, hoping to save what lies within before the sinister mayor and his deadly followers drown humanity in a bloodbath.

Is it me or is the vampire persuasion making a comeback? Lately, I've been seeing LOTS of vampire books, some are new, some old series, that my fellow bloggers are reading. I personally haven't read a solid vampire-based novel in a LONG time. And while I'm pondering on picking up a fanged romance, here's a short 101 for all of us. I love the cover and the theme is so old-school vampire fantasy. 

April 9, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: Merciless Reason by Oisin McGann

Series: The Wildenstern Saga 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Open Roan Teen & Tween
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk | Young Adult

There s no such thing as escaping the Wildensterns... It's been three years since Nathaniel Wildenstern left Ireland and his ruthless family behind. But no one turns his back on the Wildensterns, the powerful family controlling what was once the British Empire. While Nate s been gone, one of his maniacal cousins has been hard at work researching engimals the bizarre living machines with the brains of animals with the intent of creating the ultimate new species. When Nate learns what his cousin has been up to, he knows he must return and put a stop to it. But in his absence, his clan has become even more despised for its merciless hunger for power. For Nate to succeed, he'll have to return in secret because wherever the Wildensterns go, violence and betrayal are sure to follow.

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged [196]: Kingsman, Game of Thrones, & Penny Dreadful

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. 

April 7, 2016

Books & Crafts: November12 & Wonder Woman

Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging.

Sign-ups below

April 6, 2016

Loved It: Born To Be Wilde by Jenn Stark

Series: Immortal Vegas 3
Format: Mobi
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Elwyn Publishing
Source: Author 
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The past has a way of catching up with you.

If there's one thing that Tarot-reading magical artifacts hunter Sara Wilde has never been able to track down, it's the truth about her own past. But now a powerful new threat to the psychic community will take Sara back to where it all began: the last job she worked with Officer Brody Rooks as "Psychic Teen Sariah," the job that destroyed her life and sent her on the run. Because the enemy she fled all those years ago has returned... with a posse of demons as his personal entourage.

Worse, Sara's infuriating mentor, the dangerously seductive Magician, is pushing her to stretch her abilities and explore the very deepest reaches of her magic. But every demand draws her further into the spell he's weaving around her. And every challenge tests her vow to keep him at arm's length.

From the glittering chaos of Las Vegas to the Lost City of Atlantis, Sara must risk everything in a quest for vengeance that grows darker and more twisted with every step. To succeed she'll have to face the truth about her past, her abilities...and the impossible, unstoppable attraction she has to the Magician. A truth that will reveal her ultimate role in the war on magic.

Life is full of surprises when you are Born to Be Wilde.

April 5, 2016

Gush & Gripe: Author Fallouts, Blog Content #discussion

Have you ever had a fallout with an author because you didn't like their book?

April 4, 2016

Suped Feature: Under the Desert Sky by Sara Luck + Chapter 1

Under The Desert Sky
Sara Luck
Western Historical Romance
Pocket Books
March 29, 2016

Sara Luck is known for her “well-developed characters, accurate historical settings, and hot naked men” (RT Book Reviews), and Under the Desert Sky does not disappoint! Fans will love this story of a widowed frontierswoman and the ranch hand who might be all that stands between her and ruin.

Phoebe Sloan isn’t afraid of hard work—she couldn’t have survived on the Arizona frontier if she were. But ever since her husband was killed in a ranch accident, she’s struggled to make ends meet and preserve her young son’s birthright. Her last gamble was to start raising ostriches—the plumes are prized by fashionable city ladies—and it could work, but someone’s determined to sabotage her efforts.

Enter Christian de Wet, a South African importer who finds himself drawn to the fragile but determined Phoebe. He begins helping her around the ranch as a kindness, but the two quickly find that the heat rising between them has nothing to do with the Arizona desert! When the saboteur finds a way to endanger not just the ranch, but Phoebe’s family, will she have to forsake her happiness to save her son?

April 3, 2016

Shelley Liked: Traveler by Arwen Elys Dayton

Series: Seeker 2
Format: Hardcover | 448 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her oath night changed her world forever.

Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. She was trained to be an assassin. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.

Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.

But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago with the power to end the legacy forever.

And it might destroy them all.