Suped Up Feature: Warrior’s Curse by Alexa Egan + Series 101 & Giveaway

Warrior’s Curse
Imnada Brotherhood 3
Alexa Egan
April 29, 2014
Pocket Books
Historical | Paranormal Romance
Major Gray de Coursy, Earl of Halvossa and exiled heir to the five clans of the Imnada shapechangers, must regain his throne in order to save his people from a deadly war with the Feybloods. First, however, he must break the curse he has lived under since the final chaos of Waterloo. Desperate, he resolves to steal the Imnada’s most sacred relic—the mysterious crystal of Jai Idrish—to help him. When he receives a visit from his childhood companion Meeryn Munro, Gray is surprised by her offer of help . . . and by how the girl of his memories has grown to become the woman of his dreams.
None of Meeryn’s powers as anointed keeper of Jai Idrish have prepared her for the threat of battle, but it’s the passion Gray arouses in her that she finds herself fighting. In a perilous quest spanning two realms, Gray and Meeryn must outwit and outrun a cunning enemy. And only the strength of the warrior, the magic of the priestess, and a love greater than death can reclaim a crown and win them a future together.
I’ve slowly but surely getting acquainted with Alexa Egan’s Imnada Brotherhood series. And though I still have a LOT of books to go through, I thought it would be nice to invite Alexa over and talk about the series with all of us. Hopefully some of you would pick this up and we can compare notes later on.


Hi Alexa, welcome to Talk Supe! Let’s talk about Imnada Brotherhood, what is it about?


Alexa Egan: The Imnada Brotherhood is a para-storical sword and sorcery swashbuckler set during the Regency period about a race of shapechangers who have lived secretly as human for thousands of years and would do anything to guard their secret from a dangerous outside world.

As a result of a savage massacre on the eve of Waterloo, four soldiers of the Imnada are cursed to live the hours of darkness trapped as their animal aspect. As they battle to break the curse, they must also struggle against ancient enemies and those among their own kind bent on their destruction. 



Para-storical! I like that, I’ll be using that moving forward, thanks! Now I know the series features shifters, what kinds of shifters are we looking at here and can you tell us a bit about your mythology?

Alexa Egan: This is a Regency setting where otherworldly creatures secretly exist side by side with humanity. The Fey-bloods are the most numerous and the most powerful, but hidden for thousands of years are the Imnada shapechangers who were almost wiped out in a war following the betrayal and murder of King Arthur. The five clans—panther, lynx, wolf, eagle, and seal—remain isolated from the outside world as much as possible, but this seclusion has come at a price and the Imnada are dying out. Now, they must risk coming out of hiding in order to save themselves from extinction, but in doing so they risk a renewal of old hostilities with their old enemies. 


I love the Fey/fae and when I found out that they’re part of the mix I got excited. It’s been a long time since I read historical romance and I’m not well versed with genres. What exactly is the regency era and why did you decide to set your series in this period?

Alexa Egan: The Regency Era technically dates from 1811 to 1820 (the years the Prince Regent ruled Britain in place of his father mad King George III), but generally is considered any time from about 1800 to roughly 1830. Think Jane Austen /Georgette Heyer/Julia Quinn. I’ve loved this time period since cracking open my first GH romance back in high school and its blend of elegance and adventure fit perfectly with the stories I wanted to tell.


Yeah, novels during that time are indeed brimming with hopeful romances! I’m not a history enthusiast but I’m sure you probably are. What kind of research did you do for Imnada Brotherhood? Any interesting tidbits you can share with us?

Alexa Egan: I’ve always been a bit of a history nerd. I love reading about kings and queens and battles and discoveries and can rattle off famous dates, which thoroughly annoys my children. My office is floor to ceiling bookshelves and probably two-thirds of that space is devoted to historical research; everything from military maps and travel guides to sources on food, architecture, fashion, and social mores.

For the fantasy elements, I pull from a lot of Celtic mythology and Arthurian legends and then toss in my own ideas around the edges. As I’ve worked, I’ve had to research some odd minutiae; the floor plan of the opera house at Covent Garden, dates of lunar eclipses, and the ferry schedules from the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Skye come to mind first. 



Arthurian Mythology is another favorite of mine, it’s very Greek in it’s tragic elements but very wondrous too with all the magic involved. And all I can say is WOW on your techincal researches. Even lunar eclipses? Whoa! So which book or novella was the most challenging to write and why?

Alexa Egan: I think the last novella was probably the most challenging because I had already completed the book that came after it chronologically, so I had to be very sure I didn’t screw up my timeline or my characters’ motivations, which had already been set. Plus, I had to tread a careful line between giving readers enough information so they understood what was happening and dumping them with so much backstory that the pacing slowed to a crawl. Fingers crossed…I succeeded.


That’s always a good sign, details are important because readers take note of that and we sure hate it when the “stars don’t align”. 

As you’re creatures are shifters, the term Alpha Male is surely applicable to them. We’ve read different versions of Alpha males, how does your Alpha males compare with the others? 

Alexa Egan: While I don’t set out to write a certain type of alpha male, I’ve noticed over the course of many stories that my heroes do bend in a similar direction. They all tend to be bruised and damaged souls who have to fight through a painful past to gain their happy ending. They’re not in-your-face chest beaters. I’ve tried to write those kind of leading men and failed dismally. Instead, the heroes I write are quietly competent, slow to anger but quick to fight when someone they love is threatened, grimly tough, and loyal to the end. People ask my husband all the time if I base my heroes on him. I would have to say yes, in part, since he possesses every single one of those characteristics. 


Awww that is so sweet! And yes, a male protective of his female is sexy, give that trait to a shapechanger and you’ll have double or even triple the urge to protect. I’ve read Victorian paranormal romances but I don’t think I’ve read regency. Which series can you compare Imnada Brotherhood with?

Alexa Egan: I don’t know if I can compare the Imnada Brotherhood to any other Regency paranormal series since there aren’t very many of them out there and their authors come at the genre from such different angles. But some other authors who have series set during this time period would be Colleen Gleason, Zoe Archer, and Kathryne Kennedy to name a few. If you’ve read and enjoyed Victorian paranormal romance, you’ll almost certainly like those set a few decades earlier. (nudge, nudge) 


That’s true… There’s a lot of books and novellas in the series so far, how many more stories are you planning to add?

Alexa Egan: There aren’t a set number of books planned. I’ve had so much fun writing in this world that I’d love to continue as long as readers want to read them. I’ve already started tossing around ideas for the next books. Can’t wait to dive in!


I’m sure followers of the series can’t wait too! In five words, why should we read Imnada Brotherhood?

Alexa Egan: Shapeshifters. Curses. Danger. Love. Happily-Ever-After.
Imnada Brotherhood Novellas & Books Reader Order

Alexa Egan lives in Maryland with a husband who’s waiting impatiently for her fame and fortune to support them in a new and lavish lifestyle, three children for whom she serves as chauffeur, cook, nurse, social secretary, banker, and maid (not necessarily in that order), one cat, one dog… and twenty-seven fish.

Follow Alexa
This is a US & Int’l Giveaway

US Winner: print copy of Warrior’s Cure
INT’L: Imnada Brotherhood Novella bundle

Good luck!

Liked It: Giving In by Maya Banks

Series: Surrender Trilogy 2

Format: Print ARC
Release Date: April 6, 2014
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Source: Pulisher
Genre: Erotica

In her sensational Breathless Trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks tested the boundaries of desire. In her new trilogy, there’s only one thing left to do: cross them. Now, the story continues as one woman, haunted by the shadows of the past, explores the possibilities of a new beginning in ways she never could have imagined…

Kylie sees the way Jensen looks at her. The dark promise in his eyes. That rough edge of dominance she knows he possesses. But dominance is the one thing that frightens her above all else. She and her brother barely survived a childhood steeped in violence and abuse. She could never give up total control and submit to a man. Especially a man like Jensen. Could she?

Jensen sees the shadows in Kylie’s eyes. Knows he has to tread very carefully or risk losing any chance he has with her. All he wants is the opportunity to show her that dominance doesn’t equal pain, bondage or discipline. That emotional surrender is the most powerful of all, and that to submit fully to him will fulfill the aching void in her heart in a way nothing else ever will.

GIVING IN by Maya Banks, book two of her Surrender Trilogy is still erotic but more romantic than Letting Go. I don’t know which of the two I like better, there are specific parts about GIVING IN that I liked but overall I had problems suspending disbelief throughout the novel. 
Brief summary, Kylie is Joss’ sister-in-law and a victim of physical abuse when she was a child thanks to her father. Jensen Tucker, Kylie’s new boss, also had a rough childhood. His father didn’t beat him up but he grew up watching his old man treat his mom like a punching bag. Both of them have control issues because of their traumatic pasts. On that note, I liked how these two navigated through their troubles as they build a romantic relationship. Jensen was very accommodating, attentive, and loving to Kyle, he really went out of his way to reassure and show her that his intentions are good and that he’s there for Kylie and Kylie alone. Not sex or anything, just Kylie. 
Kylie for her part was receptive to Jensen’s love and caring ways. She was very patient with Jensen when his demons came back to haunt him. She was very gentle, kind, and understanding when Jensen finally bared his soul to her and revealed his past. In that moment, Kylie healed Jensen with love and it was a beautiful scene. There was a great give and take between these two and for a Dominant, Jensen was very submissive to Kylie. 

“What it means is that you’re in the driver’s seat, baby. Whatever happens from here on out is up to you. It means that when or if we make love, you’ll be in complete control and I will be at your mercy. It means that when it comes to you, I’m not dominant, nor do I have any desire to be. I am, in effect, at your feet.” – Jensen

Now on to the part that had me scoffing and rolling my eyes a bit. First, I wouldn’t necessarily tag GIVING IN as having insta-love however Kylie and Jensen’s love affair was fast and sweeping. Bear in mind that Jensen is Kylie’s boss and though there’s an obvious attraction between the two, I would expect for at least Kylie to exercise caution especially since she’s the most vulnerable between the two. Here’s what happened, they were in a business dinner and Kylie thought she saw her dad which gave her a panic attack. Jensen rushed to her side and offered comfort, told her that he’ll spend the night with her and Kylie can cuff him to the bed so she’d be reassured that he won’t touch or hurt her.
Who does this?! 
I mean under a different circumstance sure it would be akin to a one-night stand. But given Kylie’s backstory and all the other pieces, I can’t help but scoff at her judgment. Sure enough Kylie had nightmares that night and because Jensen was cuffed to the bed, he wasn’t able to comfort her in time did he.
Now for the conflict, like in Letting Go, the conflict in GIVING IN is a little bit flimsy. I mean these two had several soul baring sessions, a touching show and tell of their wounds and scars which will surely tug anybody’s heartstrings. Now after all’s been said and done, Jensen realized that he’s not good for Kylie. I mean are you kidding me?! You initiated this whole love is healing thing with Kylie and now that she’s madly in love with you, you want to bolt because of your own demons?! 
I get the flight or fight reflex, what I didn’t appreciate is how little he valued Kylie and her love for him. Kylie allowed him to step into her life and scare her demons away the least Jensen can do is give Kylie a chance to do the same, right?! Of course Kylie was able to sort it out and they still had their happily ever after. I just can’t help but shake my head over Jensen’s immaturity at this point.
Now I may have issues with GIVING IN but it doesn’t mean that this was a bad read. I may not have liked some parts but I blame some of that to PMS (ooops… TMI!) plus I’m a reader and a blogger so my views are very subjective. If I were to just look at the romantic part of GIVING IN, I loved it! Jensen is the perfect guy for Kylie and for any girl with a past, his love in unconditional and I give him A+ for effort. I just wish that the conflict was executed differently or Jensen acted more in character. 

“I’m only better when I’m with you,” she whispered. “You make me believe, Jensen. You make me believe I can have a normal life and a normal relationship. You make me have so much hope for the future. But only with you. I don’t want those things except with you.” Kylie

Steampunk Sundays: Verity Hart vs. The Vampyres by Jennifer Harlow [Parts 4 & 5]


Verity Hart vs The Vampyres
Hart/McQueen Adventure
May 6 & 20, 2014
Steampunk

KEEP CALM AND STEAMPUNK ON

The whole of Victorian London knows there is something not quite right about the Lady Verity Hart. She may be the daughter of an MP and the sister of famed inventor Lord David Hart, but she is a spinster whose own father threatens to send her to the madhouse every fortnight. Because Society is correct-Verity Hart is no lady. If they suspected how quick with a quip she is, let alone the majority of her brother’s ingenious machines were her design, the sale of fainting couches would double.

Verity requires one herself when her beloved brother is kidnapped by vampyres in the dead of night. With the aid of an aggravating, rude American bounty hunter with a secret of his own, Verity takes to land, sea, and even air to rescue the only person who could ever love and truly accept her. Or is he?

I look forward to hearing from you.

VERITY HART VS THE VAMPYRES parts 4 and 5 by Jennifer Harlow is the climax and resolution of this entire odyssey so I can’t help but read it back to back otherwise I’ll lose my mind from the suspense! In part 3, Verity and Jamie finally reached Ireland after getting attacked by vampyres and literally falling off the dirigible. It is also here where we finally get to see Jamie in wolf form and it’s feral and magnificent. 
Part 4 is meeting Jamie’s family in Ireland from his mother’s side. His uncle, Albert, Jamie’s mother’s brother, is pack master and Verity is determined to get them as allies against the vampyres who abducted, David. Albert is a slime bucket! I think I can overlook his lack of excitement and warmth in meeting Jamie for the first time, they’re strangers after all. What I can’t take is his advances towards Verity but in fairness, Verity also deserved it because in her desperation to get his pack’s help, she was flirting with the old man in front of her so-called husband, Jamie. 
Aside from this little family reunion, Verity and Jamie is finally on a mutual understanding. They’re in love but Jamie’s still resisting it. I can’t help but find Verity amusing at this point because she’s really smitten with Jamie, even when he walked out on her due to frustration, Verity was mooning over the guy, telling herself that she loves him and that Jamie loves her back. Now that’s faith!

Love is the most frightening force on this planet, especially for people such as us. Oddities. Freaks. We know how rare this force is;  just as we know it can be taken in a moment with one misstep.

Part 5 is when it finally goes down. The rescue mission was heart pounding, fully of suspense and action. The vampyres they’re up against are very cunning and because Verity and Jamie are outnumbers, they too were taken hostage. Their biggest error is letting Jamie go, this part where Jamie was negotiating with Michael, the leader of the vamps, was very clever. For a minute there even I was convinced that Jamie is a bastard and left Verity and David to hang out and dry. 
The resolution leading to the HEA was too short or maybe even rushed. Everything was happening too fast and all at the same time I wish some parts were shown, explored and fleshed out more. Nevertheless, I don’t think VERITY HART VS. THE VAMPYRES is the last Hart/McQueen Adventure. From the looks of things, David might have been saved but Verity is yet to face the wolves back in London. Can Verity, David and Jamie salvage what remains of her reputation? Now that Jamie’s met his wolf brethren, will he go back to America or stay in Ireland? Where is the next adventure going to take place? So many questions! 
Jennifer Harlow, I hope you’re writing the next one!

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #99

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

Borrowed
Audiobook from the Library

This is so difficult to listen to. If you’ve read Acheron  or even Zsadist’s (BDB) book, this is worse! Oh my heart & my ears! 

Bagged
from publishers, authors and tour organizers

 

Big & Small

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Nicholas Sparks novel, his most recent books isn’t as good as the older ones. I hate to say it but it feels like he’s selling out with almost every novel getting adapted in the big screen.

You guessed it, yet another Sparks novel, The Longest Ride, is scheduled to hit the big screen Spring 2015. I haven’t read The Longest Ride but from the blurb, it sounds similar to his hit, The Notebook in that there’s a flash-forward thing going on, two love stories are told side by side. Not sure if it’ll be the same person living and telling the story but I’m sure someone dies along the way LOL. Have you read this? What did you think?

Last Week’s Reviews
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Liked It: See You In Hell by Demelza Carlton + Giveaway

 photo 20824221_zps4e331c5b.jpgSeries: Mel Goes To Hell
Format: Mobi
Release Date: April 30, 2014
Publisher: Lost Plot Press
Source: Author via Literati Author Services, Inc.
Genre: Paranormal | Chick-Lit

Hate your job? Try working in HELL! Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel’s mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans the Lord of Lies has up his sleeve and stop him, using any means necessary. Lucifer and his minions are out to take over the world, but there’s more than money at stake when the Devil drives. Adding trouble and temptation to Mel’s job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and is determined to claim her, body and soul. Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?

SEE YOU IN HELL by Demelza Carlton feels more like a corporation satire than a straight-up humorous paranormal romance story. Word is that Lucifer is planning another bout for world domination via the corporate world. As the angels won’t allow this to happen, Raphael sent Melody to infiltrate HELL Corporation to spy and foil Lucifer’s plans. What happened instead is Lucifer and Melody fell in love, the question is, where and how does an angel and demon live their HEA?
I find the premise to be interesting but it took me a while to settle into SEE YOU IN HELL. The humor is like that TV show, The Office, there’s mild politicking and butt kissing going around, as well as breaking the barriers of stereotypes and cliques. I didn’t quite connect with the main characters, Melody needed to be fleshed out more while Lucifer was anything but Lucifer. Meaning, he’s not broody, grumpy, intimidating or even scary, instead Lucifer was very inappropriate and quite approachable. The plot overall was humorous but it needs a bit of tweaking on some areas to enhance the emotional peaks and troughs. It ended with a conundrum which begs the question, how can Melody and Lucifer pull this love affair of? Really it’s the ultimate forbidden love, The Devil is in love with an angel who won’t give up her wings, how can it get messier than that?
I had a few laughs over a few scenes that were either outrageous or ridiculous from Melody’s daily corporate life, demons addicted to coffee, crude corporate party jokes, to crisis situations involving aliens, a giant lobster, frogs and veterinarians. DCarlton also added a few well known characters to the mix like Lilith, Persephone, and Beelzebub among others. I do get why she used the corporate world as a stage for Hell, it does make a lot of sense and the similarities are endless, it’s very tongue-in-cheek and as a former corporate slave, I related to SEE YOU IN HELL on that level [I'm a former demon]. If you’re curious about this series, book 1, Welcome To Hell, which is more of a primer since it’s only 40 pages, is FREE on Amazon, grab a copy and test the waters of DCarlton’s Hell, you might end up liking it too.

“Great, we’ll see you in Hell at nine on Monday morning!”
How can an angel survive in a corporate Hell?
Mel accepted a job in the Health, Environment, Life and Lands Corporation – otherwise known as HELL.
Dying for a decent coffee, surrounded by bureaucracy gone mad and demons who just love making life difficult, Mel must find out what Lucifer and his minions are really up to – before his Corporation goes global. Mel’s no ordinary angel, but she’s never dealt with demons before.
Could the seductive CEO really be Lucifer himself? Are Luce’s lusty looks all they seem, or is he after more than Mel’s body? Does he have a hope in Hell with her, anyway?
He’s about to find out that this sweet angel’s soul is not for sale.
A tiny taste of what’s in store:
“Do you know how long you’ve made me wait?” Luce lifted his chin. “Close the door.”
Mel turned and kicked the door shut with the sole of one shoe. The click of it closing coincided with her eyes meeting Luce’s once more.
“Now strip and get your arse on the desk,” Luce instructed.
Mel stared at him. He couldn’t be serious, could he?
“Every other girl in this building knows how to do as she’s told. Do you know how many girls I’ve had on this desk? You should consider yourself lucky. The last one I had in here was so quick getting undressed that I managed to give her a full fifteen minutes of my time. At this rate, you’ll be lucky to have five.”
Mel became transfixed by the timber desktop. “Did you wipe it clean afterwards?”
“What?” Luce’s face reddened.
“Did you wipe it clean afterwards?” Mel repeated patiently. “I mean, you work on it every day. Imagine how many diseases and strange germs each of your, er, accommodating staff members were carrying when they placed their bare behinds on your desk.”
The shock on Luce’s face was priceless. He edged his chair away from the suddenly suspicious surface.
 

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean’s Gift series is her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

See You in Hell Banner photo Banner_zps4a7f5abe.jpg
Win two copies each of
Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer
Ocean’s Gift; and Water and Fire.
ends May 13
   

Loved It: The Last Good Knight by Tiffany Reisz

The Last Good Knight
Original Sinners Novella
Tiffany Reisz
Harlequin MIRA
May 6-10, 2014
Erotica | BDSM

Even if I’m in an erotica slump, for some reason Tiffany Reisz’s works can barrel through that sense of fatigue I have from reading BDSM novels. I get sooo excited every time she has a new book and there’s no chance I would pass up on any of her works. I worship her altar too just like Lorelei James and my supplication is always rewarded. Immensely. 
THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT is a serialized novella cut in 5 parts. A new volume goes live everyday starting May 6 til the 10th so if you’re a fan and would like to read this, you don’t have to wait long for all the parts to be released. Also, this is a good appetizer for the next The Original Sinners book, The Saint, hitting shelves on June 24, 2014.
Let me paint the picture real quick here, the events in THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT takes place 3 years before The Siren. Nora Sutherlin and her Master, Søren, who is also a priest, are on a break and Nora is desperate to move on. Enter ex-US Navy and MIT graduate, Lance, current security detail of the 8th Circle, a submissive, divorced, and very gorgeous. These two hit it pretty much from the get go, Lance providing the perfect salve to Nora’s aching heart. The conflict is, Lance has a daughter whom he’s lost custody over because of his preference for kink and being with Nora will surely hurt his chances of getting her back. There’s also a mini-mystery going on, a fellow Domme got assaulted and the culprit is out to target other Dommes, including Nora. 
The suspense is minimal but the [sexual] anticipation is through the roof. If you’ve read any of TReisz’s work, you know she loves to tease and you also know that she delivers. If you haven’t popped your Mistress Tiffany cherry, she’s not brutal and she doesn’t go for horror except when it comes to her character’s emotions and even then, she manages to insert a good dose of sense of humor to lighten it up. She’s very talented in softening the blows of BDSM and romanticizing the D/s relationship. Her books are very sexual but emotional too, she clearly shows the needs of her kinky characters and gives great analogies to go with it so that the vanillas could at least comprehend the “why’s” of The Original Sinners world.
THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT is such. I felt Nora’s need to move on from Søren and her desperate need for a normal relationship. She’s tired of living in the shadows and she wants to be with someone who will not only satisfy her proclivities but understand and tolerate it as well. Lance is that person, he is the perfect for the role, he’s single, and very available. Someone she can celebrate love with, walk in the sunshine and build a life together but like her relationship with Søren, being with Lance proved to have consequences and that would be at the expense of Lance’s chance of building a relationship with his daughter. Quite the conundrum but trust that Nora will always do the right thing.
There’s substantial plot to go with the copious amount of sexin’ that happened in THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT. For fans and followers of the series, we all know how the Nora-Søren arc played out but it’s also good to see how they both struggled during the time where they’re doing the “right” thing. Nora Sutherlin is such an amazing heroine and even if I’m very vanilla, I connect with her on an emotional level because like me, Nora’s also a hopeless romantic. She’s Team Love people and even if she hits her lovers, and gets hit by them too, it’s consensual of course, you could always expect a happily ever after. 

“You make me wish we lived a thousand years ago. I’d slay dragons for you, Mistress” -Lance, The Games Destiny Plays

“I know the feeling. That feeling that what you’re doing is right, so unbelievably right, and yet knowing the entire world would say it was wrong…Terrifying to think someone would try to take a love like that away from you.” -Nora, Fit To Be Tied

Loved It: Searching For Perfect by Jennifer Probst

Series: Searching For 2

Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The up-and-coming matchmaking agency Kinnections is the hottest thing to hit Verily, New York—just like Kennedy Ashe, social director for the service she owns with her two best girlfriends. A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge—not even Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy’s newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself . . .

Though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. When she realizes she and Nate are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Nate finds love—with someone else?

Jennifer Probst gives us another winning contemporary novel in SEARCHING FOR PERFECT, book two of her sparkling series, Searching For. This time around the geeks are bringing the sexy! And you know I love geeks, echoing Kennedy’s sentiment, geeks are underrated so it gave me so much pleasure to read an aerospace engineer, aka rocket scientist, fall in love with the girl of his dreams. 

“Did you always want to be an aerospace engineer?”
“No, I wanted to be a superhero. I always felt I could make Batman’s cave a heall of a lot better. and the Batmobile needed some tweaking.”

Nathaniel Ellison Raymond Dunkle. I was already crushing at the dude from the first mixer despite his foot-in-mouth style of flirting. This man is determined to find himself a wife. A wife! A man who isn’t afraid of commitment! Isn’t that so refreshing?! Anyway, I can’t help but adore Nate, he’s really trying to be suave, going for what women want most based on his research and the quizzes he took in Cosmopolitan, Marie Clare and other girly magazines. He also reads erotica, Fifty Shades, Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, and the Kama Sutra to increase his knowledge and skill in pleasuring a woman in the sack. In short, Nate took dating to a whole new level, made it almost a science, too bad it wasn’t flawless because he was still a trainwreck which prompted Kennedy to step in and take Nate on as her personal quest. 

Kennedy I already liked in Searching For Someday, she was Kate’s sexed up bestfriend and the perfect contrast to complete this not-so-opposite-attracts theme that JProbst wrote. Kennedy’s a man eater, a serial dater, emotionally unavailable, and has a love/hate relationship with carbs and sugar which makes her grumpy sometimes. Obviously the girl’s got issues which explains her commitment phobia. What endeared Kennedy to me is her brains. Despite the airhead facade, Kennedy is smart. Not Nate Dunkle smart but close enough for them to carry on a genius conversation. I was simply impressed because Kennedy carried Geek in a very chic way.
SEARCHING FOR PERFECT is warm, cuddly, romantic, and funny sequel. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, I swoon over stories where love prevails especially the ones where the underdog wins the girl. JProbst’s Searching For series always delivers fuzzy and hopeful romances with a little sprinkle of magic to make it sparkle even more. *lets out a happy sigh*

“[Love is] A Mirage. A perfect night of pleasure is realistic” [Connor, Nate's brother]
“Actually, that’s the real mirage,” she [Kennedy] said. “The dark hides a lot. no one has to tell secrets, get messy, or deal with morning breath. Daylight is the hard part. The realistic part.”

Shore Leave Cafe Primer w/Abbie Williams + Series Giveaway

I love small-town, sweet, tender romances especially ones that follows a family, chronicling their love stories in varying shapes and forms, and I know a lot of you do too. These are the best and most touching types of romance IMO.

Well Abbie Williams wrote this series called, Shore Leave Cafe, which follows that formula and I’m so excited to introduce it to you. So if you are a fan of Bella Andre, Jill Shalvis and/or Lisa Kleypas I think Shore Leave Cafe will be a perfect fit for you.



Hi Abbie! Thanks for stopping by Talk Supe to talk about Shore Leave Cafe. Such an interesting name for a series. Where did the series name come from?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: The name Shore Leave comes from the fictional café where the story originates. It is the center of gravity for the family in the series.


What and where is Shore Leave Cafe?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: The Shore Leave Café is located on Flickertail Lake, in Landon, Minnesota. It’s small and cozy, run by one incredible family, the Davises. Although Landon is fictional, I base it very closely on several gorgeous, northern Minnesota towns where I have spent a great deal of time. As a Minnesotan, I love writing about my home state. It’s so familiar – I know the smell of the woods and the feel of the lake. I love describing natural settings in my writing. 


Does the series feature a different couple with every book or does it follow a specific person, family or group?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: The series features the women of the Davis family, who take turns telling the stories. It’s important to read the books in order, as they all tie closely together. I want readers to feel like part of this family as they read, to really become invested in the characters.


Is there a predominant theme in the series? 

ABBIE WILLIAMS: Yes, absolutely! :) The recurrent theme is the importance of family, the strength of those bonds. I also believe deeply in true love, and very much enjoy creating sexy, loving and romantic men for my storytelling ladies. An extended metaphor throughout is the café itself – it represents a place of safety and warmth, laughter and family. It’s always been there and always will be, run by each subsequent generation of Davis women. 


It keeps on getting better! So these Davis women, do they fall under a type and how are they relatable to the readers?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: They are relatable because they are flawed in their own ways. When I write, they seem real to me, as though I am describing good friends. I “miss” them between books! They are also good mothers and love with all their hearts. 


It’s always a good sign when the characters “write” the story instead of the authors. What types of heroes will we find in Shore Leave Cafe?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: *blushing a little* Very, very sexy men. Men who are capable and manly and tender, all at once. Men who love their women and who take care of them, men who are funny and kind and – last but NOT least – incredible lovers. I write a good love scene, what can I say? ;) 


You had me at incredible lovers. In your opinion, what is Shore Leave Cafe’s greatest strength as a series?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: I think because it is ongoing, readers grow attached to the characters. I want readers to feel like they are reading about dear friends. 


I know author’s hate playing favorites but surely there’s one book that’s more special than the rest…

ABBIE WILLIAMS: Well, I am especially fond of Justin Miller, who appears from the get-go, but really stars in A Notion of Love. Let’s just say, he is SO worth the wait…


Intriguing.. Have you ever cried while writing a scene? 

ABBIE WILLIAMS: Oh yes – I get so wrapped up while writing that I cry frequently. There have been some pretty darn tragic moments, and when one particular character proposes, I had tears streaming down my face. 


Darn it! I love/hate it when that happens! What’s the most popular line that’s been quoted in all the books?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: I don’t know that I’ve been directly quoted – but, I do have to say, I have numerous requests for additional love scenes! So I fulfilled that request in the latest book ;)


LOL, mommy porn! So, Wild Flower, the 5th and latest novel in the series just came out. Can you tell us more about this book?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: This one is a little darker than the others. There is a ghost, real danger for a couple of the characters, and it leads into the past timeline in my latest series, the Dove series. More about that in the near future!! 


Ooh a crossover, how delightful! How many more Shore Leave Cafe books do you plan to write?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: Right now I am working on #6 for the contemporary timeline, but have at least three more in store for the past timeline, starting with a Davis ancestor who worked as a prostitute during the Civil War. So excited for these to be released! Coming this fall! 


Interesting premise, a Civil War Era prostitute. I bet her life was… challenging… to say the least. Where can fans catch you (book signings, etc.)?

ABBIE WILLIAMS: I am online mostly – Twitter and facebook! This summer I plan to do some traveling to promote Shore Leave and my newest series. Very excited about that. :)


Best of luck on your roadtrip and I hope it’s a success. Lastly, please describe Shore Line Cafe in 5 words.

ABBIE WILLIAMS: Hot, steamy, incredible true love!

I am writer Abbie Williams, and I have been addicted to love stories ever since first sneaking my mother’s copy of The Flame and the Flower; since then, I’ve been jotting down stories of my own in notebook after spiral-bound notebook. Well, that is until I got a computer that was equipped with Word, one fine day.

My day job is teaching English at the high school level (which I dearly love). I spend my days with my own true love, our three daughters, and a very busy schedule. I am most happy when I can sneak in a few hours to write and thereby indulge in visiting the characters in my stories.

When I’m not writing, teaching or spending time with my family, you can find me listening to my favorite musical groups of all time: Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Wailin’ Jennys, and The Be Good Tanyas. If there’s time in the evening, I might watch a few episodes of Hell on Wheels and eat a jar of crunchy peanut butter.

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Website | FacebookGoodreads | @WilliamsAbbie77

Suped Up Feature: Angel Kin by Tricia Skinner

Angel Kin
Angel Assassins 1
Tricia Skinner
Entangled Edge
April 28, 2014
Entangled Edge
While channeling Robin Hood’s “steal from the rich and give to the poor” attitude at a local politician’s house, ex-con Katie Logan witnesses a forced suicide. Dirty or not, supernatural or not, he didn’t deserve to die, especially not by his own hand. But with her record, stepping forward as a witness isn’t an option. On the run from the police and the murderer, she turns to The Bound Ones for help.
When a beautiful woman comes to The Bound Ones, half-angel assassin Cain is immediately drawn to her. But when she fingers him as the killer, he can come to only one conclusion. The twin he thought was dead is very much alive…and trying to send him a message. Unfortunately, that message is: “You’re next.”
It’s a race against time as Cain fights to save the woman he’s falling in love with before his brother Abel destroys them both.


Reimagining Cain and Abel for Angel Kin

by Tricia Skinner

Angel Kin, published by Entangled Publishing’s Edge imprint, gave me an opportunity to put my own spin on the legendary tale of Cain and Abel. In general terms, I’d wager most people know the Bible story: Cain killed Abel out of jealousy. End of story.


I’m not going to dig into the religious meaning of the tale. I’ll leave that for scholars and hardcore believers. What I will say is the story fit perfectly with one of the overarching themes of my Angel Assassins series: family.

Using the sibling rivalry as my base, I focused on building the brotherly relationship of Cain and Abel that would fit in my world. In Angel Kin, they’re identical twins. Cain believed Abel had died when they were children. He was taken to Heaven, trained as an assassin, and sent back to earth with three other half angels/half humans (Nephilim).Of course, Abel survived and was taken in by the enemy fallen angels called Renegades. He was also trained to be a killer, and then summoned to modern day Detroit to carry out assassinations.

Making the brothers twins ramped up the conflict. Their lives were different, yet similar. The stakes for Cain were high because the police were chasing him in a clear case of mistaken identity. Even his own team, The Bound Ones, were dragged into Abel’s plot to destroy Cain because no one believed he existed. Through it all, Cain rages against the idea he must kill Abel.

For the romance, I’ll admit I had a blast messing with Katie (the heroine) and Cain. She saw who she thought was Cain commit murder. How horrible would it be to then have to get help from the man who looked exactly like the killer?The two had to look deep inside themselves to discover who they were, what they wanted, and what they’d do to get it. It’s a tense romance; the best kind.

In the end, good stories are those that make you stop and think about yourself and the people around you. Does blood make someone family? Or is it the actions of an individual that make them more than a friend? I hope I gave readers a twist on the lore and another way to view love and family.

I’m Tricia Skinner and I write Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I’m a former journalist who discovered my inspiration to write fiction as an escape from “real life.” My reading tastes are all over the place, but I’m mainly drawn to fantasy (and its subgenres), paranormal, sci-fi, and history.

When I’m not writing, I’m a newbie “green” practitioner, fitness procrastinator, and a technology geek. I’m a mother and a wife. My family includes two Great Danes. I’m also a gamer. I enjoy interacting with my fel­low geeks and help­ing other writers, especially through the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America where I’ve served as Newsletter Editor. I’m represented by Laurie McLean of Foreword Literary.
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Suped Up Feature: Just One Look by Virginia Kelly + Racy Reads & Giveaway

Just One Look
Virginia Kelly
April 11, 2014
Romantic Suspense
Sometimes that’s all it takes…
FBI Special Agent Drew Davenport, still recovering from a life-threatening wound after a disastrous shootout, doesn’t have time to be serious about any woman. But Mia Alvarez, with her down-to-earth warmth, leaves him blind-sided.
A painful experience crushed Mia’s belief in love. The last thing she needs is an entanglement with Drew, whose sister is marrying her brother. And certainly not when she’s keeping a major secret. Despite her misgivings, forced proximity and overwhelming attraction lead to passion.
When Mia’s secret shows up in the form of a stalker, Drew’s determined to protect her. Can he overcome his fear of failing again when emotions get in the way? And while Mia trusts Drew with her safety, can she trust in love when it happens with just one look?
Just One Look is a stand-alone companion novel to Against the Wind
That’s when Drew saw her.
The knock-out, fiddling with the younger sister’s hair. Who could that be? He’d met everyone, hadn’t he? Both sisters, the endless cousins and assorted relatives. Who the hell was she?
She turned, and he knew instantly who she was.
The older sister. The prickly one with thick glasses. Mia, she’d said as she’d shaken his hand with ice-cold fingers and a businessman’s grip. Only she wasn’t wearing the thick glasses she’d worn at the rehearsal dinner, nor the prim business suit. She stood next to the younger sister… Izzy, that was it. Dizzy Izzy, he’d thought last night. She stood next to Izzy as calm and serene as a queen in a knee-length cream-colored dress that enhanced everything the business suit had hidden.
She wasn’t tall or blond, what he’d always considered his type. Prepared to dismiss her since he’d been fooled too many times by good looks, he nearly turned away. Then she smiled at something the flower girl, daughter of one of the cousins, said, and squatted to be eye level with the little girl.
And all the prim, all the regal, disappeared.
She was simply breathtaking.
He remembered watching one of the old Godfather movies and ridiculing how, based on a single look, the youngest Corleone son had gone bat-shit crazy over a girl.
His rational self argued that this sort of thing didn’t happen.
Still, he watched as she totally disregarded formality, hair, clothes, and hugged the flower girl. No cold fingers or businessman’s grip about her.
Warm and vital and gorgeous and classy…and so damn sexy.
Jesus. He’d counted on a few days of sun, sand and water. He hadn’t counted on her.
It felt like getting shot in the gut again.

Ask the Reader: Is it too “Racy?”

The Motion Picture Association of America rates movies according to language, violence and sexuality. They go from G, for general audiences, to NC-17 (what I think of as X). The “slippery” ground, to me, is the difference between PG13 and R.


One of my books, In the Arms of a Stranger, received one review that said it was PG13, another said it was R. I would have said R, certainly not NC-17. I was surprised that anyone would think it was PG13 material. I wouldn’t want my thirteen year old and younger reading that book, not because of violenceor language, but because of sexuality. I believe it’s an R:“Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.”(MPAA).

These reviews reinforced my view that while tastes and expectations have changed over the years, opinions are unique to each reader. Especially when it comes to romance novels.What’s considered “racy” really depends on the individual.

Back in 1972, George Carlin claimed there were “Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say on Television.” I’m almost 100%sure we’ve heard every one of them on television in the past few years. Novels reflect this change. While “Gosh, darn!” might have worked in the days of our parents and grandparents, can we realistically expect our rough and tumble special ops hero to keep his language that mild when a dangerous situation goes south?

It’s not just expectations of language that have changed, butthose about sexuality have changed, too. We can now pick ourromance novel heat level. Mild, medium or hot (like our choices for salsa). On either end, there are the sweet G’s and the eroticNC-17’s.

What about my books? I’d give them all a medium R rating, with the newer ones leaning more toward the higher end of R than the first one published ten years ago. I’m not too concerned about those words that couldn’t be said on television way back when (although I’ve never used them all, and probably never will). When things go drastically, dangerously wrong, I’m comfortable using words my heroes would use in the real world. Same goes with my heroines.

And the sexuality? I don’t write erotic romance. I strive for sexual tension, that push/pull that keeps the couple together yet apart. There are love scenes, but my goal is to write a good lovestory with an edge of danger. The characters, their conflicts—their STORY—dictates their actions. My latest, Just One Look, is another R—to me.

So, back to that question of PG13 vs R. It depends on the reader.

It’s really the golden age for readers because we can find that perfect read. And where years ago, reading a book with a “racy” cover in a public place might have made us hide the book behind something, we can now load our ereaders with as many books as we want covering as many tastes as we may have. Or just go ahead and open that print book and read wherever we are, without a care about what others might think.

So, what about you? Have you been able to find that perfect style—just the right sweetness or spiciness—in the romance novels you read? Have ebooks made it easier for you to read an R, or an NC-17 book, or one with a racy cover?

Virginia’s first story involved a mouse that hitched a ride with Paul Revere. She was eleven. A bit later and bit more organized, dreams of romance (with a happily ever after), adventure, and danger came together to produce To the Limit, her RWA Golden Heart nominated novel. She writes about dangerous heroes (sexy, gorgeous ones, of course!) and the adventurous women willing to take a chance on them. An academic librarian, Virginia is a native of Peru and lives in Florida with her family.

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