August 31, 2016

Shelley Loved: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Series: Seven Realms 2
Format: Hardcover | 586 pages
Release Date: September 24, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Epic Fantasy

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen. Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

THE EXILED QUEEN is the second of four installments in author Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series. THE EXILED QUEEN picks up where The Demon King left off. In case you missed it, I started this series because it takes place 20 years before her new series called Shattered Realms. Shattered Realms features the children from the lead characters of this series. Chima alternates her story between two key characters; Princess Raisa ana'Marianna and Han Alister. These two characters couldn't be more different, yet, they are both important to the future of the Queendom of the Fells. 

August 30, 2016

Match Series: Orange Flags #onlinedating

Despite my snarky attitude, I can be very naive and gullible when it comes to strangers. Not unless you're screaming DANGER in bold, red, glowing letters, I'm more likely to give you a chance and get to know you before I make any "judgment". Red flags are pretty obvious and standard when it comes to people like no psychos or shit like that. Then there are the orange flags or things that are subjective that made me pause and heed.

August 28, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: Breath of Earth by Beth Cato

Series: Breath of Earth 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Steampunk | Alternate History

After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy series from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.

When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.

Here's What...

  • I used to live in North California, close to San Francisco to be exact, so I love that BREATH OF EARTH  is set in my old stomping grounds. I could easily see Ingrid Carmichael and the rest of the Wardens running the city. 

  • I love how diverse BREATH OF EARTH is. The Asian infusion is on point and was done in a very respectful manner. I say respectful because Beth Cato deviated from the stereotypes and instead highlighted traditions and cultural aspects that gave the story a different feel.

  • There's some romance, but it's watered down and wasn't really the focal point of the story (love!)

  • BREATH OF EARTH  is very plot driven yet it told more than it showed. I wanted to see more of how these geomancers wield their power through showmanship via confrontations or fights.

  • Ingrid Carmichael, though an interesting heroine, isn't what I expected her to be. Ingrid is supposed to be a very powerful geomancer and yet her character is very understated in that she's more of a follower than a hero. I also found it a little confusing that Ingrid didn't exercise much of her abilities when she's been pseudo training for years. 

  • There's a lot of politicking involved which is basically the main conflict of BREATH OF EARTH. I love the intrigue, but as I've mentioned, I wish this debut is more action driven. 

  • Style-wise, I am a big fan of BCato's writing style. I love how the scope encompasses the world she created versus painting it just from the hero's POV's. We get a good feel of what the world looks like with geomancers out and about causing  volatility in the world. Earthquakes and natural disasters are imminent depending on which geomancer is in town and what said person is feeling. 

  • The world building is well defined, BCato painted a vivid world said in a very simplistic manner.

BREATH OF EARTH  is a cool debut to an equally cool and interesting series. I admit I wasn't wowed by it the same way as BCato's other steampunk series, Clockwork Dagger, yet I'm curious enough to follow the series and see where Ingrid and the rest of her geomancer posse will lead the tale.

Talk Supe

August 27, 2016

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged [215]: Just For Laughs

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. 

August 25, 2016

Liked It: An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

Series: Lilly Long 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Kensington
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Historical Mystery

In 1881 Chicago, the idea of a female detective is virtually unheard of. But when famed crime buster Allan Pinkerton opens his agency's doors to a handful of women, one intrepid actress with her own troubled past is driven to defy convention and take on a new and dangerous role...

Since the age of eleven, when her mother was murdered, the life of the theater is all Lilly Long has known. Now twenty-two, she has blossomed into an accomplished Shakespearean actress. But after her innocence--and her savings--are taken from her by a seductive scoundrel, Lilly vows to leave the stage, enter the real world, and save others from a similar fate. Following in the footsteps of the country's first female detective, Lilly persuades Allan Pinkerton to take her on.

Lilly's acting skills are a perfect fit for her real-life role as a Pinkerton operative. But her first case is a baptism by fire as she is sent to the small town of Vandalia to solve the mystery of a pastor who disappeared with his family--and the church's funds. When Lilly arrives, she finds the mere mention of the reverend's name provokes enmity or suspicious silence. Shadowed by a second Pinkerton agent with an agenda of his own, Lilly begins to uncover Vandalia's sordid secrets. But she'll have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to survive the final act of this drama.

AN UNTIMELY FROST by Penny Richards is the first of a new historical sleuthing series set in Chicago during the late 19th century. Lilly Long is an unlikely heroine in that she's an actress by trade, quite naive, and recently scorned no thanks to her handsome but double-dealing husband. Reeling from the demise of her marriage, Lilly applied for the position private investigator with Pinkerton, an established and quite popular detective agency, with the hopes of finding her husband and/or help other women like herself find justice after being taken advantage of by men. 

August 24, 2016

Shelley Loved: United by Melissa Landers

Series: Alienated # 3
Format: Hardcover | 300 pages
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: EverAfter
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction

After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.

UNITED is the third and final installment in author Melissa Landers Alienated trilogy. Landers once again alternates narratives between Cara Sweeney, and Aelyx from the planet L'eihr. Several years ago, Aliens arrived from the planet L'eihr and made first contact with Earth. In an effort to open up dialogue and form an alliance between the two worlds, the L'eihr's offered to help cure Cara Sweeney's mother of cancer. Chosen by the L'eihr's as part of LEAP (L'eihr Exchange Ambassador Program), Cara found herself looking at a future that is bright and full of possibilities.

August 20, 2016

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged [214]: Giveaway + The Empress

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. 

August 18, 2016

Cherry Popped! Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep + Unraveled

Karma Girl, Bigtime 1, by Jennifer Estep
Superhero Chick-Lit | May 1, 2007 | Berkley | Purchased

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

I've been catching up on all the superhero movies I missed this year so I decided to complement my binge with Jennifer Estep's Bigtimr series featuring superheroes! 

The blurb is spot on in that KARMA GIRL is a chick-lit meets comic lit in this super fun fantasy series debut. Carmen Cole is as feisty, clever, anda little annoying as our dear Lois Lane. You gotta love/hate a girl who's mission in life is to expose the identities of both superheroes and villains right? Girls got a knack for it which led her to possibly the most high profile assignment and that is to uncover the identities of the Fearless Five, a la Avengers and Justice League. 

Carmen's investigative style was exhilarating at first, can't help but get an ego boost from being successful at uncovering all these heroes and villains real identities... Until things went sideways and Carmen found herself mortally threatened by the ubervillains called the Terrible Triad. 

I love KARMA GIRL! It was obvious who the key playeres are and I still got a kick over the many twists and turns like the story took like how Carmen thwarted the bad guys, landed the hero, and in turn became a superhero herself.

JEstep is such a masterful fantasy writer, she can make anything pop to psychedelic life with a bit of her glitter. KARMA GIRL is light yet heavy in action, sexy, while still managing to be touching. I definitely recommend this series to y'all, it's fast paced, a quick read, and an exciting superhero series! 

August 17, 2016

Match Series: Building Your Profile #onlinedating

Hey guys!

Sorry I've been unreliable these past few weeks. Kinda busy applying all the sass and game I've been reading in our beloved books and applying them in real life. Bwahahaha! I know it's lame, but I'm a full-fledged and proud geek! It would be impossible for me not to channel my favorite heroines as I'm feeling out these dudes. 

Anyways, so building your online profile. I'm not the most proficient in this, I barely use my social media accounts so I don't really know how to "sell" myself. Which is a problem because Match is like a singles market so if I want to attract the right set of dudes I have to be clever about my personal description and what I'm looking for. 

August 14, 2016

Loved It: Eterna and Omega by Leanna Renee Hieber + Giveaway

Series: Eterna Files 2
Format: PDF
Release Date: August 9, 2016 
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Publisher 
Genre: Gaslamp Fantasy

Battle is joined as British and American paranormal investigators clash in an exciting gaslamp fantasy. Leanna Renee Hieber's gaslamp fantasy series continues and the action ramps up in Eterna and Omega. In New York City, fearing the dangers of the Eterna Compound--supposedly the key to immortality--Clara Templeton buries information vital to its creation. The ghost of her clandestine lover is desperate to tell her she is wrong, but though she is a clairvoyant, she cannot hear him.

In London, Harold Spire plans to send his team of assassins, magicians, mediums, and other rogue talents to New York City, in an attempt to obtain Eterna for Her Royal Majesty, Queen Victoria. He stays behind to help Scotland Yard track down a network of body snatchers and occultists, but he'll miss his second-in-command, Rose Everhart, whose gentle exterior masks a steel spine.

Rose's skepticism about the supernatural has been shattered since she joined Spire's Omega Branch. Meeting Clara is like looking into a strange mirror: both women are orphans, each is concealing a paranormal ability, and each has a powerful and attractive guardian who has secrets of his own.

The hidden occult power that menaces both England and America continues to grow. Far from being dangerous, Eterna may hold the key to humanity's salvation.

I have to admit, I have to check My notes and review for The Eterna Files before diving to ETERNA AND OMEGA. If you're following the series, you'll remember that book 1 ended on a cliffhanger. Rest easy because this one picks up where Clara last left us. 

August 12, 2016

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged [213]: #RogueOne #StarWars

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. 

August 10, 2016

Loved It: Results May Vary by Bethany Chase

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: General Fiction

She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.

So what would you do if your husband cheated on you with another man? 

I'd totally go ape shit! It would be similar to crossing the street then you got hit by a friggin' truck because you were looking at the wrong direction. 

August 9, 2016

Shelley Loved: Burning Bright by Melissa McShane

Series: The Extraordinaire's 1 
Format: E-Galley | 318 pages
Release Date: August 15, 2016
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Historical Fiction | Regency

In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.

As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.

Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?

BURNING BRIGHT is the first installment in author Melissa McShane's The Extraordinaire's. 21-year old protagonist Elinor Pembroke is a late bloomer when it comes to receiving her talents. So when she wakes up and learns that she is an Extraordinary Scorcher, one who can set fires, and put them out, Elinor finds herself at a crossroads of sorts. In McShane's world, there are talented individuals who have magical gifts like Seers, Bounders, Movers, Speakers, and Shapers. Elinor is the first Scorcher in England in over a hundred years. 

August 6, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Series: Steampunk Proper Romance
Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Steampunk Romance

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

BEAUTY AND THE CLOCKWORK BEAST by Nancy Campbell Allen is more of a gothic romance (IMO) than a steampunk one. I think this is good news for some people who are not into steampunk but enjoy a good historical romance with some fantasy in the mix. I haven't read a good vampire-werewolf themed novel in a long time so it's quite a treat to have that in Steampunk Proper Romance

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged [212]: No Books!

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. 

No books this week! I moved to a new place last weekend and spent the entire week getting settled. I finally managed NOT to get any book! Hurrah!

Big & Small
  • Though it hasn't hit theaters yet, it's been confirmed that there will be a sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with a tentative release date of November 16, 2018. 
  • Who's seen Suicide Squad? How was it? 
  • My immediate circle is obsessed with Pokemon Go. Everywhere I go people are playing! I feel left out then again I don't think I have the patience to play. Do you play?


Bought, Borrowed & Bagged 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. 

Talk Supe

August 5, 2016

Loved It: Get The Guy by Matthew Hussey

Series: Standalone
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Harper Audio
Source: Borrowed from the Library
Length: 7 hours 29 minutes
Narrator: Matthew Hussey
Genre: Self-help | Relationships 

Most dating books tell you what not to do. Here's a book dedicated to telling you what you can do.

In his book, Get the Guy, Matthew Hussey - relationship expert, matchmaker, and star of the reality show Ready for Love - reveals the secrets of the male mind and the fundamentals of dating and mating for a proven, revolutionary approach to help women to find lasting love.

Matthew Hussey has coached thousands of high-powered CEOs, showing them how to develop confidence and build relationships that translate into professional success. Many of Matthew's male clients pressed him for advice on how to apply his winning strategies not to just get the job, but how to get the girl. As his reputation grew, Hussey was approached by more and more women, eager to hear what he had learned about the male perspective on love and romance.

From landing a first date to establishing emotional intimacy, playful flirtation to red-hot bedroom tips, Matthew's insightfulness, irreverence, and warmth makes Get the Guy: Learn Secrets of the Male Mind to Find the Man You Want and the Love You Deserve a one-of-a-kind relationship guide and the handbook for every woman who wants to get the guy she's been waiting for.

I stumbled upon Matthew Hussey's videos on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. I was skeptical about his dating advice platform at first yet I kept watching because (1) he is frickin' cute, and (2) that accent gets me every time. As I kept watching, I've developed a liking to his dating principles and decided to  read his book, GET THE GUY, which luckily my library has. 

August 4, 2016

Loved It: Every Time with a Highlander by Gwyn Cready

Series: Sirens of Scottish Borderlands 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
Source: Publisher via NetGalley 
Genre: Time Travel | Historical 

She can work her magic on any man...

In a quest to bring peace to her beloved Scottish borderlands, fortune-teller and spy Undine Douglas agrees to marry a savage English colonel. Desperate to delay the wedding long enough to undermine the army's plans, Undine casts a spell to summon help and unexpectedly finds herself under the imperious gaze of the handsome and talented Michael Kent, twenty-first century British theater director.

But in this production, he commands the action...
Though he abandoned acting years ago, Michael will play whatever part it takes to guard Undine's safety—he's used to managing London's egocentric actors and high-handed patrons, after all. But not even Shakespeare could have foreseen the sparks that fly when the colonel's plans force Undine and Michael into the roles of their lifetimes.

To me, Gwyn Cready's Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands is like a romcom version of Outlander. Angus Mohr (RIP) could easily fit into this world. 

But instead of magical stones, Undine Murray is the one responsible for all the time traveling that's been happening, and EVERY TIME A HIGHLANDER is her book. Though the books are relatively romantic in nature, three an underlying seriousness to the overarching plot and that is England taking Scotland under their Empire which, of course, our beloved high and low landers are trying and fighting to stop. It's this sense of desperation that Undine grabbed Michael Kent, actor/director, in the middle of a Shakespearean performance and brought him to 1700 Scotland to help her delay and maybe stop her pending marriage to Bridgewater, one of the key players in this takeover and a villainous person a la the Sheriff of Nottingham.

August 3, 2016

Match Series: Johnny Bravo #onlinedatingadventures

ICYMI, I joined the bandwagon and signed up for My Mr. Right is taking his sweet time so I thought I'd help him out and meet him halfway, given he's on the same site and if he's not then I'll consider this practice or something. 

This new blog series details the highlights of my misadventures and to protect the not-so-innocents, I will not be sharing photos, names, screenshots, and what-not. I don't want to be hunted down! 

August 1, 2016

Shelley Loved: Fortune's Favor by Liz Long

Series: Heroes of Arcania 2
Format: E-Galley| 256 pages
Release Date: May 15, 2016
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: Author
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction

Nova will learn it takes more than sheer strength to be a superhero. Her world implodes when Fortune strikes back for all the trouble she's caused. His dangerous games put everyone around her at risk, especially when he decides to turn Arcania against its precious Heroes. Nova wants to protect Arcania, but how does she save a city that doesn't want her help?

Cole has no idea how to deal with his sister Penelope, especially now that she's learned the truth about their family secret. Thanks to Fortune, she's headed down a dark path, one with no return. Torn between helping Nova and protecting his sister, Cole will be forced to make a choice. Tensions rise as Cole and Nova discover war will come to Arcania if they don't get Fortune off the streets...or preferably six feet under.

Nova and Cole might have each other, but will they lose everything else in their mission to save Arcania?

3.5 Cauldrons