Suped Up! Death Takes A Holiday + High Moon by Jennifer Harlow

Death Takes A Holiday | High Moon
F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation 3 & 4
Jennifer Harlow
Urban Fantasy
Midnight Ink
August 28, 2013 | Sept. 16, 2014

Quotable Quotes from Death Takes a Holiday

You have no claim on her. None. She is mine: mind, body, and soul. Has been since the first moment I saw her. – Will

Love, no matter what, is a glorious thing. It is never wrong. It teaches us. It makes us grow. – Nana Alexander

I must say there is never a dull moment around you, is there Agent Alexander? – [Vampire] Lord Connor.

Oh Jennifer Harlow, you are such a cruel, CRUEL mistress! I hope you know that!
And what does that make me? A masochist because, as you can see from the cauldrons up there, I loved every minute of the torturous journey JHarlow made me suffer through for days! By the way, today is HIGH MOON‘s release day so grab a copy because it’s fan-fucking-tastic, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year! But I am getting ahead of myself, allow me to go through the motions and hopefully at the end of this little review, I’ve managed to persuade you to read F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation

Let me simplify this, DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY and HIGH MOON is the culmination of what have been brewing for the previous two books. With HIGH MOON taking a nasty turn, going dark and changing the tone and feel of the entire series. Let me get the little tidbits out of the way before I gush & gripe over Beatrice, Will, and Oliver’s romantic and platonic relationships. 
While the series arc mainly focuses on Beatrice Alexander and her suitors, werewolf Will Price, and, vampire Oliver Montrose, each volume is a case chronicle. DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY had vampires, trolls, and evil humans while HIGH MOON dealt with a rogue werewolf pack led by a crazed female Alpha. Both cases are personal to Beatrice for different reasons and it’s packed with drama, the funnies, action and a few brushes with Death. JHarlow can whip a great paranormal sitcom-mystery and just when I thought I got it figured out, she pulls the rug from under me. Action/adventure, big check!!
Now both books also sorted out the debacle which is Bea’s love life. From the start Bea’s caught between two Alpha males who are both madly in love with her. Technically Bea’s made her choice from the beginning but Will and Oliver made it very difficult for Bea to make things official until HIGH MOON
If you’re reading the series you can guess which male Bea chose but for the purpose of keeping this spoiler-free, I’ll make things vague. It’s in DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY that things became crystal for everybody. The events that transpired in book 3 forced Bea, Will, and Oliver to make a choice and a stand given the state of things. Even if said choice was obvious, these three were in a state of denial and things were still kept light but you can tell that the overall atmosphere is tense. Let’s just say that the rest of their workmates have “Teams” and both have been wound up for some time now so not all of them were too happy when Bea made her pick official. Yet another example why it’s not wise to hook-up with a co-worker. 
You’d wish things remain hunky dory for Bea because it feels like HEA is just around the corner, waiting to give her a big fat hug. Not quite and on hindsight, I’m not surprised with how things turned out in HIGH MOON, there have been foreboding clues here and there and if I didn’t let myself get distracted by Bea’s romantic glow, I’d know that her bliss is short lived. And as if heartbreak is not enough, their case with the rogue were pack made things really, really ugly, very, very real, and super duper tragic! 

Photo credit
I’m still reeling, my heart is still hurting, my jaw is still on the floor.

Needs Work: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by NIkki McCormack

Series: Stand-alone (?)

Format: PDF
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: YA – Steampunk

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.

THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT by Nikki McCormack sure sounds good on paper. A thief, a cat with a mechanized leg, a murder, and conspiracies all set in Victorian London. What’s not to like?! Eh, a few actually. 
For me the lure of Steampunk novels is it’s unique and fantastical world building, It’s like the Industrial Revolution on steroids where the world is getting modernized exponentially on one hand, and on the other there’s an expectation for society to stay as is, keeping tradition and heeding to rules of conduct and class. Quite the contrast which turns the characters into mavericks. 
Unfortunately THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT has close to none in terms of world building. Aside from mentions here and there of automated carriages, horses, etc. and the cat’s leg, I didn’t really feel I was in Steampunk Victorian London. The details of this world is left for us to construct and imagine which didn’t bode well with me. 
The dialogue also didn’t feel authentic. Street urchins like Maeko has a way of speaking and some people might take it for granted but I am particular when it comes of word usage and “book accents” on my historical reads. Aside from the world, how people converse is another device authors use to take us back to a certain time period. No cockney accent here. 
Now it’s not all that bad. I like the premise of THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT, it’s the kind of craziness that I enjoy reading. I love the chase, the process of solving the murder mystery, getting away from the bad guys, and redeeming some of the characters. Unfortunately the execution of the story fell short. Maeko could’ve been an interesting heroine to follow but she and the rest of the characters need depth, dimension, and layers to flesh them out. 

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #117 + Ben Barnes & Seventh Son (The Spook’s Apprentice)

BB&B (Bought, Borrowed and Bagged) is a weekly meme, inspired my The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie, where we share with you the books that we have bought, borrowed or bagged (won or gifted) plus a recap of the previous week’s reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and book movie or television news. 

BB&B is an homage Barron’s Books & Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s smash hit series, Fever. 

from publishers, authors and tour organizers

A LITTLE FAITH is special because it’s my Matey’s debut novel. Emma James is a pseudonym of a fellow blogger, Michelle from Novels on the Run Blog, who is jumping in the pool of storytelling. A LITTLE FAIR is NA-Contemporary and the first book of a series.

Won from Lily Element


Big & Small

Because BEN BARNES!!!

This week is my kid’s choice. I don’t read The Last Apprentice book series which SEVENTH SON is based on (The Spooks Apprentice, The Last Apprentice-Wardstone Chronicles 1 to be exact) but I love epic fantasies and this one looks awesome! 
Ben Barnes plays Thomas Ward, the 7th son of the 7th son, and he is training to be an exorcist until he was tricked into freeing the Queen B of evil, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), and all hell breaks lose. SEVENTH SON hits US theaters February 16, 2014

Last Week’s Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
win a print copy of KISS OF STEEL
ends Sept. 22
Check out these other fabulous blogs that participate in 
Bought, Borrowed & Bagged:

NOTE: There’s a new linky created for this year and please note that you have to use your LABEL links (i.e. book haul) on the form below NOT the post link.


Loved It: Cold Blooded and Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Cold Blooded | Red Blooded
Jessica McClain 3 & 4
Amanda Carlson
Urban Fantasy
October 8, 2013 | September 9, 2014
I am glad that I read COLD BLOODED and RED BLOODED back to back otherwise the cliffhanger from the former would be too long of a wait! Jessica McClain and her ragtag gang of vampires, werewolves, witches, and now a reaper, goddesses, and demons, are in constant motion. Putting one fire after the other, it seems like since Jessica’s first shift, the supernatural world has gone cray cray and now Jessica’s taken it upon herself to either put to things right or police the otherworld. No wonder “Jessica” in the RED BLOODED cover looks like she could use a fat hearty meal, this gal has yet to stay put in one place since Full Blooded and I think all the adventure sure is taking its toll on her. 
COLD BLOODED is the best and strongest installment in the series and my favorite so far. Immediately following the events of Hot Blooded, COLD BLOODED starts when Jessica’s witch BFF, Marcy, and her pack’s second, James, went missing which almost started a war between the werewolves and witches because the latter think James abducted Marcy. Obviously that’s just the tip of the iceberg and nothing is what it seems in Jessica McClain‘s world. Marcy missing was nothing but bait because Hell wants Jessica to stand trial in their court for crimes she committed which is also tied to another prophecy. Being a female Lycan and the only one at that is a threat not just among werewolves but to the entire supernatural community. Naturally, Jessica isn’t just going to be ushered to Hell willingly so the Prince took her brother, Tyler (my husband), as collateral and saving him is the main plot of RED BLOODED
Now I wasn’t crazy about RED BLOODED, I didn’t like “Hell” and all the demon politics that went with it. It had its moments, ACarlson can always deliver high powered action so there’s that as well as more insight to being the Daughter of Cain and what lies ahead Jessica as she matures. That aside, RED BLOODED felt like an echo of book 2, Hot Blooded, when Jessica saved her mate werecat, Rourke, from the clutches of the crazy goddess, Selene. It’s just the stakes are higher this time and weird alliances are formed.
These two books showcase how Jessica is living up to the foreboding prophecy about being The Female Lycan. Her powers are growing, her blood is like ambrosia, and her magic is fast becoming unparalleled and unrivaled. As a character, I love Jessica turning into a formidable heroine without losing her humanity, so to speak. She may be bossy but she still knows what matters. she always give everyone, including her enemies, the benefit of the doubt, and she’s loyal to her team and friends to the end. Speaking of her friends, I wish they would be less followers of Jessica’s beck and call and assert themselves more. Jessica might be a powerful person of prophecy but she’s still a fledgling compared to her team.
As a series Jessica McClain is non-stop action. If you read all the books in succession and write the events in one timeline, all of these happened in a year, give or take. Now THAT is a lot of deaths, close calls, and adrenalin spent. However I also feel the focal point of the series is shifting and I’m still unsure if this is a good thing or a bad thing at this point. Maybe it’s unfair of me to compare but when your series name is the same as your MC, I expect that the books would be centric to and directly about her (i.e. Arcadia Bell).
After Full Blooded I feel like the succeeding stories may affect Jessica in one way or the other but it’s not necessarily about HER. To me it’s like she’s more of an accessory than the MC, like what happened in RED BLOODED. The demon business in Hell involves her but if you look at the greater scheme of things, her purpose there was more to aid than anything else. Sure her powers are growing in every installment, which is sort of the series plot and anchors the books as a whole, and as each volume is told in her POV the books are “hers” but IMO it’s just a technicality. If you’re a follower/fan of the series, I hope you understand what I’m saying. 
To close this back to back review, RED BLOODED ended in, yes, another cliffhanger. This time it’s Jessica’s dad who needs saving. The series is becoming a chronicle of rescue missions and though I’m excited what’s going to happen in Pure Blooded, I have to say that I’m getting wary of the formula. I hope something else happen in book 5 because it’s starting to feel like we’re reading different versions of the same story.

Loved It: Slash & Burn by Alice Bello

Slash & Burn | Kiss
Slash & Burn Series
Alice Bello
Contemporary Romance
April 2014
Before anything else, know that SLASH & BURN volume 1 is FREE on Amazon (and everywhere else) so please grab a copy! The other links are below in case you don’t use Kindle. 
Now to my review!
So I’ve been on a slump, that or I just need more sleep, so I can only read short novels currently. I can’t get behind anything “heavy” and I can always trust on Alice Bello to sweep me away with her lighthearted romantic romps, SLASH & BURN is no exception. 
The premise is simple, SLASH & BURN is sort of a second-chance in love with a few awkward situations and sexy times thrown in the mix to keep things interesting. Liz Hamilton wanted to give her V-Card to Jackson Burk back in college but the handsome jock declined it. Liz carried that bitter rejection all these years until one fateful day when their paths crossed once again. Seems like Jackson’s been remorseful over what happened between him and Liz all those years ago and he’s bent on getting her back.  
SLASH & BURN is leaning more towards the romcom/chick-lit side than the staple contemporary romance with weeping heroines and dramatic confrontations and revelations. Liz and Jackson had quite the… reunion in the dirty back alley. Okay it was a bit yucky because it’s dirty in more days than one coupled with their dysfunctional display of exhibitionism but it didn’t remain like that for long. ABello has a knack for making awkward situations funny and Liz and Jackson’s post coital bliss didn’t last for long… unless they want the restaurant owners to call the cops on them. 
Now SLASH & BURN wasn’t just about unwise, spontaneous, and animal displays of attraction. It has a few sweet moments and heartfelt interactions between Liz and Jackson that it didn’t take long for him to melt her cold heart. Jackson’s explanation why he rejected Liz all those years ago was sweet and thoughtful even. The overall conflict does feel a little shallow but in this case it’s acceptable because the premise isn’t all that complicated anyways. I simply like that nothing about these two novellas are heavy and emotionally taxing.
So, ABello is helped me get through this week and I enjoyed SLASH & BURN immensely! The novellas are to the point, didn’t linger much on the extras and the secondary characters were as fun and crazy as Jackson and Liz. The ending of Kiss, volume 2, was a bit of a cliffhanger so I am looking forward to reading how Jackson is getting himself out of the mess especially now that him and Liz are back together. 

Sarez Loved It: Stone, At Your Service by Rie Warren

Series: Carolina Bad Boys #1 

Format: ARC
Release Date: 25th September 2014
Publisher: Rie Warren
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance

Hell on wheels meets hell in high heels.

Bad boy mechanic Josh Stone likes to get his hands dirty any way he can—the filthier, the better. Ever since his wife walked out on him and their young son, he’s only had room in his heart for two loves: the kid and cars.

Roped into playing his best buddy’s gay boyfriend during a romance writers convention, the player meets the girl who’s gonna rock his world. Leelee Songchild. Shy, bashful, beautiful Leelee who blushes at the drop of a hat yet writes hardcore smut to rival Josh’s backlist of Penthouse Forum.

The only problem is his hands are tied. Josh can’t stab his old friend/fake lover in the back even though all he wants to do is take luscious Leelee to bed, and maybe, love her. When the truth comes out, all hell breaks loose.

Too bad romance is just for books.

Josh Stone is doing his best mate one helluva favour. Nicky Stone writes paranormal romance and is living a lie. His fellow authors believe he is gay, it was the only way he thought of to avoid the come ons that he frequently experienced at all the author conventions he attends. Hence the big favour Josh is doing for him. For one week he will be acting as Nicky’s lover.
Two straight as they come guys and one sexy erotic female author – what could go wrong?
This book started out as a cluster…jam of epic proportions. From sexual innuendo and more than one oopsie daisy moment, Josh (or Stone as he is known by the other authors) is fighting a losing battle against another part of his anatomy that either missed the memo or is ignoring the fact that this week is all about Nicky. Josh Stone in his everyday life is a wham-bam-thank you ma’am (let’s not forget his sexy southern manners) every friday night player. As a single dad to a three year old he’s really not looking for anything more.
Josh Stone is the perfect guy, a self described man’s man (just not ‘that’ type of man’s man). A sexy, rough mechanic who is also a romantic and known to have an eye leak on occasion. He is also completely clueless when it comes to all things literary. 

When the conversation turned to shop talk—not the greasy, dirty garage shop talk I was used to—but New Adult, Romantica, Regency, and something called mm mmm, I gave up being subtle to stare unblinkingly at the elevators across the lobby.

Oh Josh, mm mmm, you should be very familiar with what that means!
He tries his absolute hardest to act the convincing gay lover, and does quite well for a while. He can’t hide the undeniable chemistry or the longing he feels toward Leelee Songchild. 
I took a little bit of warming up to this book but once I did I loved it. Told completely in Josh’s POV it was a refreshing change from many of the books currently flooding the market. It was subtle, saucy and spine tingling hot, sprinkled with humour – everything was executed so well it just felt complete.  
If your looking for a different read in this genre then this book is one for you. 
Ramada’s valet parking sucked balls and cost a mint. The hotel was lit up like a fairytale palace—or a whorehouse, depending how you looked at it–with people coming and going. It was busier than Stone’s before a holiday weekend, when everyone in the tri-counties seemed to get a flat tire. Bellhops wearing pained grins pushed wheeled-carts toppling over with boxes from the convention 
attendees through the carousel doors.
I wielded our cart into the lobby, following Nicky as he strolled up to the check-in desk. His demeanor changed the second we walked through the doors. Gone was the scrappy South Cackalackee bruiser who knew how to take a hit and knock a fucker to the ground. He rolled up the sleeves on his oxford twice, neatened his hair back into a slick knot, and greeted people with effortless charm.
While we stood in line and he made small talk here and there, a commotion at the back of the queue drew my attention. A gal wrangled with her cart and then watched—eyes and mouth open wide—as four boxes crashed to the floor. Books, dresses, shoes, wigs . . . lingerie swam onto the polished marble floor.
I noticed her cock-up with the cart first.
Her legs second.
Her tits third.
Her face last.
Holy fuck.
“Who the hell is that?” I whispered, pointing at the babe surrounded by ten tons of shit spilling all over the floor.
Nicky glanced over my shoulder. “No idea. New kid on the block, I guess.”
“I’m gonna go help her.” I shouldered through the crowd and squatted down before her. “Need a hand?” Because one thing Ma had taught me was always help out a woman in need.
She blew a tendril of the lightest red hair from her brow. “I’d sure appreciate it.”
And I was a goner.
I packed her stuff back up under her guidance and stacked it smartly onto the cart, willing myself not to look at her as I stepped back. Definitely not remembering the lace, the frills, the full-on feminine lingerie I’d handled.
“My knight in shinin’ armor?”
Shaking my head, I backed away. I saw Nicky at the elevators, waiting for me. “Not really, miss.”
New kid on the block. There was nothing kid-like about her. She was voluptuous, a handful from hips to hourglass waist to perfect breasts. The southern drawling miss in a knee-length skirt and clinging top didn’t seem to know she’d made my cock railroad-spike hard. I walked away, mesmerized by her feminine-fuck-me appearance up to her goddamn adorable face. A killer combination. Full throttle attraction the likes of which I’d never felt made my head spin, my heart speed.
And there was no way I could act on it because I’d just signed up for five and a half days of Gaydom at the Rom Con.

Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tellseries–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command. Her latest endeavor, the Carolina Bad Boys series, is fun, hot, and southern-sexy.

A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling. Her work has been called edgy,daring, and some of the sexiest smut around.

You can connect with Rie via the social media hangouts listed on her website Website. She is represented by Saritza Hernandez, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Add me on Facebook | Goodreads

Naughty Nooners: My Control by Lisa Renee Jones & White Collared: Passion by Shelly Bell

After living a little followed by a fantasy streak, I have to decompress from myth and world buildings and keep it “real” for a moment. As real as it can get anyways. 

MY CONTROL and WHITE COLLARED: PASSION are great minute reads, it’s filled with sexy angst and twisted crimes of passion. These are good picks for work break reads, semi-long commutes, or even bedtime stories to help you unwind and maybe help rev up your engine with the partner *wink wink*.

My Control by Lisa Renee Jones
Inside Out 4.1 | Novella | Erotica | Pocket Star | Sept. 8, 2014
I am LOVING Mark Compton’s novella series! It’s revealing, redeeming, romantic (intended alliteration), complicated, and angsty! With his beloved mother’s fight for cancer and the media hoopla surrounding Rebecca’s disappearance coupled with guilt, Mark’s overwhelmed by everything that’s happening in his life and one can see that he’s about to hit rock bottom soon, self-destructing and probably making a bigger mess of things… but not if Crystal can help it. 
MY CONTROL is super short at 49 pages and it’s packed with intrigue and the good stuff only Lisa Renee Jones can provide. I do love Crystal, she is a good match for Mark but because the man is a control freak and a Dom through and through, I’m afraid he’s forcing his wants and rules on Crystal which thankfully, she’s not having. The girl’s got balls of steel and at this point, I’m optimistic that Crystal can balance Mark out, exorcise his demons, and maybe set him right again. 
I wasn’t the biggest Mark Compton fan in the beginning but I am enjoying his side-stories and rooting for him now. I am excited to see where his affair with Crystal will lead but I have a feeling that they have a long ways to go. I’m up the journey anyways so keep it coming LRJones, this reader wants more!
The Novels
The Novellas

White Collared: Passion by Shelly Bell
White Collared 4 | Serial | Erotica | Avon Impulse | July 15, 2014

-lies darken the soul just a little bit more until there’s nothing left

It took me WEEKS to finish PASSION because, surprise! Surprise!, I ended up not liking Kate at all because the girl turned for the S-word (if you know what I mean). So if you remember my previous reviews, I did mention that I’m not really feeling Kate’s character but I was hopeful that she would eventually win me over. Yeah that didn’t happen however the plot itself more than made up for my disconnect with Kate and I am still recommending White Collared to every reader who loves erotica and/or romantic suspense. 
PASSION wrapped up WHITE COLLARED perfectly. I thought the heart pounding scenes were over in Revenge and the last part of the serial will be nothing but a wrap up. Turns out, Shelly Bell’s got more up her sleeve and my head REELED with the ultimate revelation in this awesome serial series! I never saw that coming AND thankfully Jaxon, who was an a$$ in part 3, managed to redeem himself in PASSION
I am so tired of BDSM but SBell’s got some mean writing skills because the scenes didn’t even bother me (except Kate). I love how she managed to line up the kink with the murder mystery, adding a thick layer of excitement to the whole story. SBell is on my radar peeps and she just found another reader/stalker in me.

Steampunk Sundays: Forged by Desire & Bec McMaster’s Book List + Giveaway

The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace | Forged by Desire
London Steampunk 3.5 & 4
Bec McMaster
August 19, 2014 | September 2, 2014
Smashwords | Sourcebooks

Shout-out to Sophia Rose of Delighted Reader for telling me that The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace is currently FREE on Amazon and I suggest you grab a copy while it’s still a freebie. 
On to the meaty parts! The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace is the prequel novella to Perry and Garrett’s HEA and it takes place 3 years before FORGED BY FIRE. I loved this novella, it’s a classic whodunnit mystery demonstrating Perry and Garrett’s camaraderie and partnership as Nighthawks agents with hints of a budding attraction between the two. 
The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace is a satisfactory quick read. It accomplished its goal of building-up Garrett and Perry’s chemistry which exploded in FORGED IN FIRE. I enjoyed these two’s adventure as they solve the mystery behind an actress’ disappearance. It’s like a steampunk version of Clue but with higher stakes with Perry having a close call with the perpetrator. 
Things didn’t really change much initially between these two in FORGED IN FIRE. They’re still dancing around each other until Perry Lowell’s past caught up with her which accelerated things and put it in perspective. I love this third London Steampunk novel, it’s fleshed out in every angle and well written. Perry, IMO, is the BEST character McMaster has written yet. I don’t know why exactly, I just connected with Perry and her backstory to the fullest. I loved her contradictions, how she’s both strong and vulnerable at the same time to say the least. Garrett Reed is also a different kind of Alpha male which is another quality that I loved. He didn’t bully his way in Perry’s life, rather he showed her why Perry needs him and really showed her that he’s reliable and can be trusted. 
Anyway, I’m reviewing FORGED IN FIRE for Romance at Random so if you want to know more, you just have to (pretty please with cherry on top) check it out!. In the meantime, Bec’s here to share something personal with y’all.
Bec McMaster’s Book List

Books have always been my life, but some of them have had a significant impact on me, so here is a quick little list of the most influential books I’ve ever read. Whether I enjoyed them or not, they’ve shaped my career as a writer.

The Complete Grimm’s Fairytales / Fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson – These books – or collections – definitely had an impact as a kid. I loved them, and growing up, was fairly aware that the movie versions were fairly sanitised. The romance writer in me adores fairytales of any form, but I have always liked them darker, or with a lesson learned. Perhaps that’s why I prefer my reads now to be a little darker? Who knows?

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien - I was eight when I borrowed this from the school library. My family was setting out on a trip to Darwin, and I kept getting told to put the book down and enjoy the scenery, but I couldn’t! This was so fascinating for me. It was my first foray into the fantasy, and when we got home I was hooked. I needed more to feed my newfound fantasy addiction. 

The Silver Rose by Jane Feather - This was an important one, because it led me to romance. I remember being about 15-16 when I scoured the book shop one day and couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. I’d read everything on the fantasy shelves at this particular shop, and wandered past the romance shelves. The silver cover caught my eye and when I read the back and discovered it was about a heroine and her beloved horses (also a major passion at that age), I had to have it. It was my first true entry into reading romance and I was addicted. I needed more. It was also at about this time that I started writing romance. 

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook - There are a million books I could put on this list, but The Iron Duke was one that led me to believe I could create my own steampunk world. I’ve always loved steampunk, but it took me a long time to realise that these movies/books etc. were actually called a specific thing – that this entire genre had a name. And that a little story idea that had been germinating within me for a few years could actually come to life. 

Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett - The entire Lymond series was something I encountered at almost 20. This series is not for the faint of heart. It’s heavy and, though I re-read it almost every year, I’m still finding little nuggets that the author has woven through. If you want a masterclass in subtlety – in show, not tell, then this is it. The hero and his actions are never quite what they seem, and the challenge is in discovering what he is up to – and why. So what do I find so fascinating? The entire political subterfuge, the anti-hero Lymond, who is my total book-boyfriend crush, even to this day, and the history. Pawn in Frankincense is the book I both enjoy the most and also dread. It puts you through the emotional wringer, and is a battle of wits with Lymond’s arch nemesis. Part of what I love so much is the political backstabbing and danger – parts of this might have pushed it’s way into my London Steampunk series, where my heroes and heroines fight in a dangerous, political world against seemingly impossible odds. 

Lisa Kleypas books - I’ll include these in the list, because her heroes always had an impact on me. Often working class heroes – self-made heroes – who had battled their way up through the world, and finally found love. I won’t lie. Billionaires don’t interest me so much, nor do dukes – not in the usual sense of things. I would much prefer to see a man work his butt off on his way to becoming a millionaire, and rise above his circumstances. That’s the point of a hero’s life that fascinates me – the struggle. That’s where his true character lies, or so I believe, so Kleypas has definitely had an impact on the type of heroes I like to create. 

As to my London Steampunk books, there are dozens of regencies that have had an impact, plus several Urban Fantasy’s, where the vampires were dark, dangerous creatures… Altogether it led me to start creating an alternate historical world, which is ruled by a blood-drinking elite… And not the nice kind, either. Into this world come the self-made heroes and spunky heroines I like to create, fighting against all of the odds in order to earn their HEA. 

So this is my list, I’d sure like to know yours.

Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. Read more about her at or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMasterGoodreads, & Facebook.

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Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #116 + Boob Tube Round-up

BB&B (Bought, Borrowed and Bagged) is a weekly meme, inspired my The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie, where we share with you the books that we have bought, borrowed or bagged (won or gifted) plus a recap of the previous week’s reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and book movie or television news. 

BB&B is an homage Barron’s Books & Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s smash hit series, Fever. 

from publishers, authors and tour organizers

Won from Lily Element

Big & Small
I recently finished LOST GIRL via Netflix, there’s a LOT to be desired in terms of effects, acting, and fight choreography. What captivated me is the human element of the series and it feels very Urban Fantasy. I read that the series is about to wrap up, a little saddened but I also feel it’s time. 
Then I started HAVEN which is like a Supernatural wannabe. I liked the backdrop, made me want to visit Maine but the plot line is a weak so I ended up skipping it.
So I decided to binge watch OUTLANDER. Now I haven’t read the books so I don’t know how faithful the story is to the text. I do like the lady portraying Claire, she’s got a great set of buns. LOL As for the story, it’s okay, I’m not swept by it yet, I’m just at the point where I’m still interested and would like to check it out some more. 
This rounds up my boob tube time. Do you have any recommendations for me? I need a new series to follow. 
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NOTE: There’s a new linky created for this year and please note that you have to use your LABEL links (i.e. book haul) on the form below NOT the post link.


It’s The Brazen Babes!

Today’s guest bloggers are way way special to me because I’ve been “with” these two since almost the beginning. Back then Ana and Sharonda have their own blogs, Beach Bum Reads and Salacious Reads, respectively and we’d sign up for the same blog hops, reading more or less the same books, and feeding each other’s blogs via comments and views on a regular basis. 

Then Ana got busy with school so she kinda dropped off the sphere and would do The Walking Dead recap posts with Sharonda when zombies are in season. And because these two have amazing chemistry together, they then decided to start a new blog called

So without further ado…

Welcome back to TALK SUPE guys! So what should we expect from BRAZEN BABE REVIEWS?

Sharonda: This blog is really about Ana & I coming together as bloggers to give folks a lil piece of both of us. This is a review blog, a book review blog. But we also will be reviewing movies, TV shows and just having conversations about different things whether it be book related or not. 

Ana: Pretty much what my girl Sharonda said. We’re bringing ourselves to the table. What you got in our own blogs is what you get here at BRAZEN BABE REVIEWS

Is BRAZEN BABE REVIEWS going to be the same with the now defunct, Salacious Reads & Beach Bum Reads?

Sharonda: hmmm, good question. You know when I wrote my good bye note over at Salacious Reads, I pretty much stated that much wasn’t going to change in how we did things. But you will see us doing more posts together, like Tuesday Jams & reviews…you know things like that. I mean, for example…Ana is a gamer, so you will see her possibly update how she’s doing on a game she’s playing right now. Me, as some of you know, I’ve been doing more and more video review posts, so you will probably see a tad bit more of that. Ana? 

Ana: Yeah.. soooo Sharonda pretty much has it all down pact. Everything will stay the same and our review styles won’t change, but there will be a few combined posts. 

LOL @ Ana is a gamer. Awwwh my co-blogger knows me so well. Luuurve you giiirl! 

Oh that’s an interesting mix! I know gamers but haven’t really got the hang of it. What sort of shenanigans should we expect in BRAZEN BABE REVIEWS since you all went so wholesome back there *snorts*. I know you two’s got something up your sleeves!

Sharonda: LOLS, oh we can’t really spill the beans. But you know just talking to Ana via messenger, I feel that we have this almost kind of same warped personalities, like we’re kindred spirits, except you know…I’m the old lady one, LMBO! So, IDK might come across some strange things on some days BUT we will always be respectful, but damn sure funny. 

Psh, I feel “old” myself although age ain’t nuthin’ but a number right?

Ana: haha. giiirl you know you ain’t old ♥♥ But, yes we won’t be spilling any beans but you can expect some great things from us in the future. And we really are kindred spirits. So far we’ve agreed on just about everything as far as the blog is concerned. If we could publish a book with all our conversations I’m sure you’d be laughing for daaaays. 

I can only imagine, your convo about The Walking Dead is always hilarious!

Do you have favorite genres?

Ana: Ahhh. As far as authors go, it’s very limited and I don’t really have a fave at this moment. But if you’re a follower of mine, then you know I’m a die hard romance fan. Anything with romance and I’m in. #RomanceJunkie 

Romance is always a safe bet.

Sharonda: Well, if you followed me on SR..then you know my go to genre right now is interracial romances and why? Because I love the the sense of forbiddeness in the stories. Especially the historical romance ones. Just the thought of two people coming together and fighting for their relationship…their love because the world tells them that the can’t be together because of they’re different (skin color, social status,etc)? G!rl, sign me up. I’m down for it. I love when I’m reading and folks are fighting for their relationships and I feel that IR/MC romances give you that RAW and at times with no filter. And I love historical romances, but me?

I like it with just a lil more of a erotic feel too it. I don’t want the old stuffy “Oh Brett” and faint ones, no (remember that, LOLS). I want mines with the females that are NOT so innocent to the world. Because honestly, just think about it. The hard times that folks faced back in the day, like really how many innocents to you think there were? We had women that had to become “grown” at early ages, like 12 and 16. So no, this woman doesn’t want to read about virgins. 

I feel you, I always say there’s no such thing as “YA” back in the day. Once you get your period, sometimes even before that, you’re shipped off somewhere.

Sharonda: And as for my favorite authors, in IR/MC of course Sienna Mnyx and KoKo Brown. You want a authors who can write in different sub-genres and keep you coming back?, then you want to pick their books up. Sienna, I discovered a while back and just started swallowing up her books. KoKo Brown, I just discovered…but man oh man! I’m liking what this woman is writing. As for historical romances, Natasha Blackthorne and Jess Michaels are my tops. Natasha and Jess give you strong female characters in times when we were suppose to be these weak, useless things. I love just about everything N. Blackthorne has written…no lie. And Jess, I just discovered as well…but she is becoming a fan favorite. All of these authors are on my auto buy list. 
Ana: I’m a gamer. My IG name for most games is Miss Vishous (P.S. No one ever asks me why did I spell Vishous wrong – sigh… they just don’t know. If you do know what it is message me on FB – the first person to do this will receive a $5 amazon gift card) 
Oh I think I know! Do I qualify?!

Ana: I dislike comedies (movies) but people tell me I’m funny…. it’s weird, I know. 
Are these supposed to be book related? LOL… I’m not as artistic (drawing wise) as my buddy, Sharonda, but I do draw a mean palm tree! And I’m not shy to show it! wooot. xD 
Where’s the palm tree?!
Sharonda: I work at B&N, but don’t tell anyone that. Tired of folks only wanting to be my friend because I work at a bookstore, LOLS. First thing out their mouth is, what discount do you get? or I just wrote this book, so…. like really… o_O
Hmmm… Sorry to hear that… so about that employee discount…we’re supa friends right? #kiddingnotkidding
Sharonda: I just learned how to “really” cook. Yeah, cooking is not my favorite things. And I hope to find a chef boyfriend one of these day :D I draw, not professionally. And no I cannot show any pictures. I’m kind of shy like that :0

I enjoy cooking too! I actually enjoy it more than eating, making food is as therapeutic as eating it. And yes, I want a man that can cook too! Someone who looks like either Bradley Cooper or Chef Ludo.

Thanks for gracing TALK SUPE today ladies! As for you Supies, please check them out and follow them. These two are funny!


Sharonda | Sexxy Blogger


Ana | Miss Vishous