Gush and Gripe #9

Gushing about Revenge and Guacamole
I know its random but these are two of my guilty pleasures this month.

First off, I gorged on ABC’s Revenge for two straight days last week. I had one of those days where anxiety and boredom was getting the best of me (PMS) and in an attempt to settle my frayed nerves I stumbled upon Revenge and I was hooked after the first episode. This is show is primetime soap and I love the intrigue, careful plotting and vow of cold blooded vengeance Amanda Clark/Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) is thrusting upon the upscale Hampton society who conspired against her father for a crime he didn’t commit which led to his demise and subsequent infamy. I have a girl crush on Emily VanCamp since Everwood and Brothers & Sisters so I’m more than happy to see her on the small screen once again.

Guacamole salad. I’ve been gorging myself on this for over a week now and I can’t get enough of it! I don’t know how many calories there are per serving but since its mainly fruits and veggies, I consider it healthy LOL. This is originally Ina Garten’s original recipe but I changed it a little bit, here’s my modified recipe in case you’re curious:
  • 4 avocados
  • 1 mango
  • 2 medium tomatoes (seeds removed)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn kernel
  • 2 tbsp red onion (optional)
  • juice of a small lemon
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste
You can add/remove some of the ingredients, mix it all together and let it chill in the refrigerator, eat and enjoy.

Griping about Giveaway and ARCs
I believe this is an isolated case but just my luck I’ve been duped twice by the same outfit on two separate occasions. I won’t drop names because that’s just bad for business but allow me to gripe a little. See I supposedly won two books on two separate giveaways ran by two separate blogs. Like any giveaway winner, I was very excited to have received this news especially since I was looking forward to reading said books. To my surprise my prize never came and I have to do several follow ups to several people and such to no avail. In short I was left high and dry which is very disappointing because we’ve worked with this host before and I’d like to believe that as far as our services are concerned, Talk Supe has been more than accommodating. I’m not bummed about not getting my prize because my TBR will probably outlive me but what irked me was having me go through the hoops, doing follow ups, being passed on to different people only to receive hollow guarantees in the end. This experience was mortifying and definitely embarrassing.

As for ARCs, I’m sure several of you have requested for one as soon as the galley becomes available in NetGalley and/or Edelweiss only to be told they they’ve reached their ARC limits. Again, it’s not about getting a copy but what I find illogical is why put up a copy for request at all if you’ve already reached or are close to your limit?

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Review + Giveaway: Wellesley Wives by Suzy Duffy

Series: New England Trilogy 1
Format: ARC from the publisher
Excerpt here
Release Date: September 27, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | The Writer’s Coffee Shop

Popsy Power – a Boston society-wife and her best friend, Sandra seem to have it all with billionaire husbands and beautiful daughters. But things change.

From Bollinger to basic-wage, it’s a roller coaster for the ladies who lunch. When the daughters land in a heap of trouble too, it’s hardly surprising that their mother should worry about the next generation of Wellesley Wives.

Life can’t always be fun in the sun, but that’s why there’s fur!

Sit back, relax and enjoy the wonderful world of the Wellesley Wives.



Big thanks to The Writer’s Coffee Shop we are giving away a paperback copy of
Wellesley Wives 
Fill out the rafflecopter form below and make sure you enter the right contact information.
Check our standard giveaway policies for more info.
Selected winner has 48 hours to reply to our email otherwise we’ll draw another name.
Good Luck!

Writer Wrangler: Suzy Duffy (Wellesley Wives)

Talk Supe: So there’s a Wellesley, MA. How is it similar to the one in the book?
Suzy: The book is based here in the real Wellesley, MA. I used it as the hometown for the story because I live here and know it pretty well at this stage. The story starts in the autumn and Wellesley is just breathtaking in this time of year. It gave me a colourful backdrop upon which to build my story. To be honest, I don’t mention many shops by name because you never know if you’re going to get into trouble or be thanked for that! I reference Cliff Road a few times because it’s such a pretty road. You should see the houses – wow. They’re just the sort of place I could see Popsy living – lucky girl!! The people in my story… they are complete fiction.

Talk Supe: Can you tell us about the real Wellesley Wives from Wellesley, MA?

Suzy: Regarding the real Wellesley Wives, they have a reputation of being exclusive but it’s just not the case. I’m a blow-in from Ireland and they’ve been so welcoming and friendly. They’re all highly normal woman – getting their kids out to school and trying to stay on top of everything. I’ve lived in Geneva, Paris, London, Dublin and women in all these places are basically the same. We worry about our family’s health, our loved ones, the future, the past, the stare of the nation, the planet. Women are wonderful worriers!

Talk Supe: What’s the inspiration behind the better-than-average females in Wellesley Wives?
Suzy: It was autumn two years ago, a particularly lovely sunny day when I saw a fantastically glamorous blonde woman in a convertible red Ferrari driving through Wellesley. I’ll be honest, I was envious. She was older than me but her life looked pretty damn good from where I was sitting in my PB&J stained, SUV. I was on a school run at the time and so I had plenty of time to think. My mind began to wander and Wellesley Wives the story began to formulate. What if that image was just the tip of the iceberg? What if her life was actually falling apart and she had no idea (because the gal I was looking at looked pretty darn happy!) That evening I sat down at my computer and wrote the first chapter of Wellesley Wives. Funny thing is I never saw her again. Maybe she was really only test driving the car. Maybe Popsy is real!!!

Talk Supe: Is Popsy based on a real-life character?
Suzy: There are no real people behind Popsy and the other WELLESLEY WIVES. She is a complete figment of my imagination, although I do think there’s a little Popsy in every woman I know. Any woman (even the smartest ones) can be a bit ditzy but we all have great strength too. We don’t know how resilient we are until we’re challenged. I love Popsy, but sadly she’s only real in Wellesley Wives.
Talk Supe: Wellesley Wives touched on several controversial topics like infidelity, financial mismanagement and in-your-face affluence, are you worried about the strong reactions some readers might have about these themes?
Suzy: As a novelist, you’re going to get some people who love your work and some who don’t. That’s a fact of life. Thankfully, most people are nice. Before writing, I was a radio and Television personality. It was the same in that industry. To be honest, I think every job brings its own share of grief, even being a Mom. On reflection, Moms probably get the most hostility. Just because you gave birth to the antagonist doesn’t make it any easier.

Talk Supe: Which character was the most difficult to write?
Suzy: I usually find men harder than women. I guess I have a pretty good idea how women think at this point and how many shapes and sizes we come in, but men? I’ll never quite understand them! 

Talk Supe: What should we expect from book 2, Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I’m almost finished it now and it’s been great fun. Some parts are very funny. It’s about the crazy lengths a woman can go to in order to have the right address. As if that’s going to make her happy – Ha! As with WELLESLEY WIVES, it touches on a few issues; mid-life-marriage difficulties, today’s deeply materialistic world, the importance of female friendships (I like that one), how we view old people, pressures on young people, ambition, love and pursuit of happiness.

But it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting, because you gotta laugh at life – right?


Talk Supe: Are we going to read the same characters in Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I don’t write sequels any more. I did it once in Ireland and readers told me they were fed up if they accidentally read book 2 before book 1 so now I write every story to stand alone. That said, I really fell in love with Popsy and Sandra so I’m thinking they could do cameos.
Talk Supe: Looking forward to that, I like to know is Popsy hooked up with that Irish dude and if Sandra managed to snag that doctor.

Talk Supe: What are books 2 and 3 about; can you tell us a little bit about their respective plots?
Suzy: NEWTON NEIGHBOURS is almost finished and I have to say I’m very excited to get it out into the world. Of course it has to be edited and rewritten so realistically, it will be next autumn when it goes public. As with WELLESLEY WIVES, there will be a few leading ladies and each one will have her own story. Without giving too much away, the issues in NEWTON NEIGHBORS are; Mid-life-marriage difficulties, materialism, the importance of female friendships (yes, I like that one!) ageism, pressure on the youth of today, ambition, love and the pursuit of happiness – but it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting.

I have no idea what book 3 will be about yet!

The Writer’s Coffee Shop is giving away TWO PAPERBACK copies of
Wellesley Wives 
1 for US/CA residents
1 International

Follow us via GFC and fill out the rafflecopter form below, 
make sure you enter the right contact information.
Check our standard giveaway policies for more info.
Selected winners have 48 hours to reply to our email otherwise we’ll draw another name.
Good Luck!

Review + Giveaway: Wellesley Wives by Suzy Duffy


Series: New England Trilogy 1
Format: ARC from publisher
Release Date: September 27, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | The Writer’s Coffee Shop

Popsy Power – a Boston society-wife and her best friend, Sandra seem to have it all with billionaire husbands and beautiful daughters. But things change.

From Bollinger to basic-wage, it’s a roller coaster for the ladies who lunch. When the daughters land in a heap of trouble too, it’s hardly surprising that their mother should worry about the next generation of Wellesley Wives.

Life can’t always be fun in the sun, but that’s why there’s fur!

Sit back, relax and enjoy the wonderful world of the Wellesley Wives.

I love chick lit and WELLESLEY WIVES by Suzy Duffy fit the bill perfectly. What I loved the most about the book is that the main characters aren’t young twenty-something women, whining and stressing about “life”. Instead we have a fifty year-old Popsy and her forty-something bestfriend Sandra who are living lives most of us only dream about. Until Fate decided to play a trick on them and decided to turn their lives upside down by ripping away their wealth and respective marriages in one afternoon.


Adding to the mayhem are Popsy’s two daughters, Rosie and Lily, who are having personal problems of their own. Rosie is being strong armed by her husband to go to a swingers Caribbean getaway and Lily is the mistress of her father’s bestfriend and business partner, Jack, who is also Sandra’s husband. It’s Complicated doesn’t even begin to describe the situation and Popsy just found herself in the middle of mayhem.

Sometimes you have to make your own good luck, and something tells me your time is now, so come on. [Emily, Lily’s BFF]

As you can see, WELLESLEY WIVES has some crazy entanglements going on and SDuffy untangled the mess in a deliberate manner and next thing you know, you’re knee-deep and reacting strongly to the story. I found myself wanting to comfort Popsy and Sandra, I wanted Rosie to kick her husband, Mark, to the curb for being so selfish and I most definitely want to thump Lily’s head for her stupidity. It all righted itself in the end and the journey these women took will have you feeling devastated, angry, frustrated, joyful and giddy.

WELLESLEY WIVES is a story about love, loss and the drive to work with what we have and shape our own future. And just like in real life, some of the characters will make you laugh and some will make you want to pull your hair out. These women might be privileged but their hardships and how they responded and dealt with it are experienced by most women from all walks of life. And it is this characteristic that gave the characters resonance and made the story relatable.

The Writer’s Coffee Shop is giving away TWO PAPERBACK copies of
Wellesley Wives 
1 for US/CA residents
1 International

Follow us via GFC and fill out the rafflecopter form below, 
make sure you enter the right contact information.
Check our standard giveaway policies for more info.
Selected winners have 48 hours to reply to our email otherwise we’ll draw another name.
Good Luck!

Writer Wrangler: Suzy Duffy (Wellesley Wives)

Talk Supe: So there’s a Wellesley, MA. How is it similar to the one in the book?
Suzy: The book is based here in the real Wellesley, MA. I used it as the hometown for the story because I live here and know it pretty well at this stage. The story starts in the autumn and Wellesley is just breathtaking in this time of year. It gave me a colourful backdrop upon which to build my story. To be honest, I don’t mention many shops by name because you never know if you’re going to get into trouble or be thanked for that! I reference Cliff Road a few times because it’s such a pretty road. You should see the houses – wow. They’re just the sort of place I could see Popsy living – lucky girl!! The people in my story… they are complete fiction.

Talk Supe: Can you tell us about the real Wellesley Wives from Wellesley, MA?

Suzy: Regarding the real Wellesley Wives, they have a reputation of being exclusive but it’s just not the case. I’m a blow-in from Ireland and they’ve been so welcoming and friendly. They’re all highly normal woman – getting their kids out to school and trying to stay on top of everything. I’ve lived in Geneva, Paris, London, Dublin and women in all these places are basically the same. We worry about our family’s health, our loved ones, the future, the past, the stare of the nation, the planet. Women are wonderful worriers!

Talk Supe: What’s the inspiration behind the better-than-average females in Wellesley Wives?
Suzy: It was autumn two years ago, a particularly lovely sunny day when I saw a fantastically glamorous blonde woman in a convertible red Ferrari driving through Wellesley. I’ll be honest, I was envious. She was older than me but her life looked pretty damn good from where I was sitting in my PB&J stained, SUV. I was on a school run at the time and so I had plenty of time to think. My mind began to wander and Wellesley Wives the story began to formulate. What if that image was just the tip of the iceberg? What if her life was actually falling apart and she had no idea (because the gal I was looking at looked pretty darn happy!) That evening I sat down at my computer and wrote the first chapter of Wellesley Wives. Funny thing is I never saw her again. Maybe she was really only test driving the car. Maybe Popsy is real!!!

Talk Supe: Is Popsy based on a real-life character?
Suzy: There are no real people behind Popsy and the other WELLESLEY WIVES. She is a complete figment of my imagination, although I do think there’s a little Popsy in every woman I know. Any woman (even the smartest ones) can be a bit ditzy but we all have great strength too. We don’t know how resilient we are until we’re challenged. I love Popsy, but sadly she’s only real in Wellesley Wives.
Talk Supe: Wellesley Wives touched on several controversial topics like infidelity, financial mismanagement and in-your-face affluence, are you worried about the strong reactions some readers might have about these themes?
Suzy: As a novelist, you’re going to get some people who love your work and some who don’t. That’s a fact of life. Thankfully, most people are nice. Before writing, I was a radio and Television personality. It was the same in that industry. To be honest, I think every job brings its own share of grief, even being a Mom. On reflection, Moms probably get the most hostility. Just because you gave birth to the antagonist doesn’t make it any easier.

Talk Supe: Which character was the most difficult to write?
Suzy: I usually find men harder than women. I guess I have a pretty good idea how women think at this point and how many shapes and sizes we come in, but men? I’ll never quite understand them! 

Talk Supe: What should we expect from book 2, Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I’m almost finished it now and it’s been great fun. Some parts are very funny. It’s about the crazy lengths a woman can go to in order to have the right address. As if that’s going to make her happy – Ha! As with WELLESLEY WIVES, it touches on a few issues; mid-life-marriage difficulties, today’s deeply materialistic world, the importance of female friendships (I like that one), how we view old people, pressures on young people, ambition, love and pursuit of happiness.

But it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting, because you gotta laugh at life – right?


Talk Supe: Are we going to read the same characters in Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I don’t write sequels any more. I did it once in Ireland and readers told me they were fed up if they accidentally read book 2 before book 1 so now I write every story to stand alone. That said, I really fell in love with Popsy and Sandra so I’m thinking they could do cameos.
Talk Supe: Looking forward to that, I like to know is Popsy hooked up with that Irish dude and if Sandra managed to snag that doctor.

Talk Supe: What are books 2 and 3 about; can you tell us a little bit about their respective plots?
Suzy: NEWTON NEIGHBOURS is almost finished and I have to say I’m very excited to get it out into the world. Of course it has to be edited and rewritten so realistically, it will be next autumn when it goes public. As with WELLESLEY WIVES, there will be a few leading ladies and each one will have her own story. Without giving too much away, the issues in NEWTON NEIGHBORS are; Mid-life-marriage difficulties, materialism, the importance of female friendships (yes, I like that one!) ageism, pressure on the youth of today, ambition, love and the pursuit of happiness – but it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting.

I have no idea what book 3 will be about yet!

The Writer’s Coffee Shop is giving away TWO PAPERBACK copies of
Wellesley Wives 
1 for US/CA residents
1 International

Follow us via GFC and fill out the rafflecopter form below, 
make sure you enter the right contact information.
Check our standard giveaway policies for more info.
Selected winners have 48 hours to reply to our email otherwise we’ll draw another name.
Good Luck!

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged #22

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) plus a recap of the previous week’s reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and any news we want to share with our followers.

Braine

Bought
from Amazon

Everyone is gushing about ODS added to the fact that it’s been topping the Amazon charts for weeks now, naturally I got curious and got the book. 

Bagged
for review

FEAR: A Modern Day Anthology of Horror and Terror
Big thanks to Carmen Jenner of Book Me! for the ARC’s. In case you haven’t heard, she also has a story published in Volume 1 called What Goes Around.
Disenchanted by C.K. Farrell (The Celtic Vampyre Saga 1)
Wicked Allure by Leslie Ferdinand

FREEBIES

Wicked Werewolf Night by Lisa Renee Jones (Werewolf Society #1)
Secrets Exposed by Lisa Renee Jones (Tall, Dark & Deadly 0.5)


Cimmaron
 Bought
from Amazon


from Used Bookstore

So I go in to my favorite used bookstore to see if they have anything I’ve been keeping my eye out for and this lady walks in with this bag of books and she has a stack of Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter books with her!!. I’m one of those losers that hasn’t read this series and I’ve been dying to and she actually had the first few in the series. The store usually only has the later installments, so I was totally stoked to have snagged these. I know that I’m missing books 3, 6 but I’ll worry about them later. The question now is WHEN will I get to read these?!?!

Bagged
from Edelweiss

 

Big & Small

I haven’t read Beautiful Creatures (Castor Chronicles 1) by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia, and I don’t think I’ll pick the book up anytime soon, but the official movie trailer looks spectacular! It has a solid supporting cast in Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson. I think I’ll watch the movie instead. Beautiful Creatures hits theaters February 13, 2012.

Last Week’s Reviews

Ongoing Events


Moonlight Giveaway
Win a paperback copy of Moonlight by Tim O’Rourke
Ends Oct. 2

Chocolate Lovers Giveaway

Enter to win digital copy of Seduction and Snacks & Futures and Frosting by Tara Sivec  
Ends Oct. 3rd
Share our review posts and win a book of your choice from any of the books we’ve already reviewed.
Ends September 30


Check out these other fabulous blogs that participate in 
Bought, Borrowed & Bagged:
NOTE: Current and future participants, please use your BB&B LABEL LINK instead of the individual post link.

Review: Naked by Raine Miller

Series: The Blackstone Affair #1
Format: eBook
Publisher: Raine Miller Romance
Release Date: August 25, 2012
My Copy: Self-Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Brynne Bennett is living the good life. An American art student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s putting her life back on track with school and lots of hard work. When ultra successful London businessman, Ethan Blackstone, buys her nude portrait, he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. He wants Brynne in his bed and makes plans to keep her there no matter what. His dominant nature captivates and ensnares despite the demons she carries inside her. But there are secrets in this relationship. Huge ones. Can Ethan free Brynne from the past that has marked her? Will Brynne let him or will the specters tormenting her resurface to destroy them both.

WARNING: This is an ADULT EROTICA ROMANCE. Due to the nature of the story, explicit language and sexual content this book is recommended for mature audiences only (18 and up).

Actually, I would rate this more like 3.5 stars

Naked is the first book in Raine Miller’s planned The Blackstone Affair series. At 115 pages, Naked was a hot, quick read. I must admit the cover caught my eye and then when I read that the heroine would be falling for a sexy Brit I was immediately heading over to Amazon before I even finished reading the synopsis. I’ve found a new guy to swoon over. A sexy, domineering Alpha male with a British accent. I think I’m already in love. Yes, I’m definitely a fan of Naked’s male lead, Ethan Blackstone.

“That picture changed everything. I was not the same after I saw it and I couldn’t go back to the man I’d been before seeing it either. Not after we met that night on the street. My whole world altered because of a photograph. A photograph of my beautiful American girl.”

Brynne Bennet is a young and beautiful American graduate studying at the University of London. She’s been living in London for the past four years after running away from a pretty dark and painful past. To make some extra cash while going to school, Brynne models for “artistic nude photography” for her good friend, Benny. While at a showing for Benny’s work, Brynne is informed by her friend that a very  sexy man has just purchased her photograph. 

“Ethan Blackstone was dangerous territory for a girl like me – Great White shark is hungry for lone swimmer in cove – territory.”
While they don’t meet at the event, Brynne eventually runs into Ethan Blackstone after he sees her leaving the gallery and offers her a ride hom. Although she’s a little hesitant at first, Brynne eventually agrees for Ethan to take her home. The next day Ethan gives Brynne a ring and asks her out but she politely declines. This rejection doesn’t deter Ethan because he makes multiple attempts in asking Brynne out until she finally caves. The strong sexual attraction to Ethan is evident right from the start and after their first date Brynne embarks in a relationship thats both emotionally and sexually intense.

“The sex never ended with this man. And I was on board the sexy train right with him, flashing my frequent traveler pass.”
Naked did remind me of E.L James Fifty Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. You’ve for the young, beautiful woman and a domineering businessman. While a lot of folks think this trope is a little overkill at the moment I can but help but love these types of stories. While it’s not as emotionally intense as Day’s Crossfire series is does bare a similarity as the heroine has a traumatic past that’s damaged her emotionally. Brynne regularly visits a therapist to overcome her fears and issues. 
“I was sorry. I really meant it too. I was sorry that parts of me were damaged and broken but it didn’t change the facts either.”
Brynne was a fairly likable character. Although she’s obviously suffered something terrible where she had to run away from her home life she’s still out going and out spoken. She embraces her sexuality and needs. Ethank Blackstone is delish. He’s an ex-Special Forces agent whose gone into private security business and made quite a fortune. He’s very intense, bossy, domineering and persistent. The fact that he was also British really had my blood going for him. The sex scenes were sizzling! I don’t know if these billionaires take a special Sex: 101 course but hot damn why must they be so skilled in the boudoir? 
If you’re a fan steamy sex and characters with dark hidden pasts then you’ll want to pick up this novella series. Naked will lure you in, the characters will intrigue you and the story will keep you wanting more. This was my first Raine Miller novella and I enjoyed is trmendously. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger which has me even more excited for the second installment which will be told in Ethan’s POV. If my little review isn’t enough to persuade you to read Naked then I’d like for you to sit on this little tidbit …. David Gandy as Ethan Blackstone!

Cover + Excerpt Blitz: Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter

Series: Jane Yellowrock 5
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

EXCERPT TWO 
Something wet and warm pooled in my palm holding the hilt of the knife. Blood. I was bleeding out. I needed to shift. Fast. I struggled to get the mountain lion tooth out of my pocket, but my fingers didn’t seem to work. I tried to drop into a meditative trance, but the earth spun when I closed my eyes, a sickening lurch. My gorge rose, tasting of blood, and I gagged. The night sky twirled and tightened down, becoming a pinpoint of velvet black sprinkled with white light. I could hear my heartbeat. Thump-thump, thump-thump, fastfastfast. Too fast. I tried again to find the calm in the center of myself, but there was nothing there, no center, no peace. Just the sound of my speeding heart and wet, raspy breath. I was worse off than I thought. Maybe a lot worse. 
I didn’t have the time to shift into my beast to save my life. Beast? I called in my mind. She didn’t answer. No snarky comment. No insult. Nothing. Beast? 
Feet padded in the dark, barely heard. Coming closer. I laughed, the sound little more than a wet, raspy moan. I closed my eyes. Beast pressed her claws into my mind again, the pain sharp and demanding. Forcing me down. I dropped. Deeper. Into the darkness inside my own past, where ancient, tenuous memories swirled in a world of shadow-gray and uncertainty. I heard a distant drum, smelled herbed wood smoke. The night wind coming through the broken window chilled my skin, smelling foreign and hot and dry. Beast forced me deeper, memories firmed, memories that, at all other times, were forgotten, both mine and Beast’s. 
In the memories, I saw a deer with fawn and knew I would not hunt her just now, but only after the fawn was grown. I saw an old woman bending over a fire, her silver hair in braids, her wrinkled face catching light and shadow like the cliffs and valleys of a river gorge. Her eyes were yellow like mine. I saw a kit straying toward the cliff edge and padded over, taking it in my mouth, his entire head in my killing teeth, held gently. I tasted/smelled/felt the kit struggling, heard his mewling cries. Breathed in his scent. Mine. 
My heart rate began to slow. To stutter. The blood pooling in my hand felt chilled. I had held cold blood before. Had placed my hands in it, in the cavity of my father’s chest. And then wiped my fingers across my face in a promise of vengeance. A vengeance I had never taken. The old promise, never fulfilled, scourged me, hatred unfulfilled. A wrong never avenged, never forgiven, I thought. But the concepts of vengeance and forgiveness melted away.

Review: Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

Series: Black Knights 1
Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Excerpt here
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Black Knights Inc.–Behind the facade of their tricked-out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Hold On Tight…

Ex-Marine Nate “Ghost” Weller is an expert at keeping his cool–and his distance–which makes him one hell of a sniper. It’s also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she’s his best friend’s baby sister…and totally off limits.

Rough Road Ahead

Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley–or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she’s become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible–but her heart is another story altogether.

I love motorcycles and combining it with Black Ops and a politically charged mystery complete with terrorists, a corrupt Senator and the CIA, things are bound to get hairy and that’s exactly what HELL ON WHEELS is all about. Adding to the high powered action are two hopelessly in love people who are doing their best to fight their attraction for each other.

The sexual tension between Nathan “Ghost” Weller and Alisa Morgan is thick and imminent from the start it’s like a time bomb waiting to explode. What I find amusing is Ali’s the predator and Ghost the prey in this scenario, reading Ghost squirm and fight off Ali’s advances while struggling with blue balls was funny. Even the secondary characters provided much entertainment especially the love-hate relationship between Rebel and Frank whose story and HEA we’ll read about in book 2, In Rides Trouble.

Yes, damn you! Yes, that’s why I always keep you at arm’s length Because anytime I get near you, all I wanna do is peel away your clothes, lay y’down on the  nearest horizontal surface, and plunge balls-deep inside you until you’re squirmin’ beneath me like a worm on a hook and beggin’ me to never stop.

What tore me to pieces was Nathan’s flashback/nightmare of Grigg’s death. See Grigg is Ali’s older brother and Nathan’s bestfriend and fellow Black Knight. Grigg’s last mission went awry resulting to gut wrenching torture from Taliban terrorists which ultimately led to his death. This part was brilliantly written and very inspired I felt every word, heard every scream and tasted every salty tear that Nathan and Grigg shared in that clay hut. However there were parts that I felt were cheesy and a little forced and to me it comes off as Ghost and Ali were trying too hard to convince us that they have a thing between them when it’s pretty obvious from the start. Adding the President to the mix to hand out justice was a little overkill IMHO, I think it would’ve been better if the obvious conclusion was implied instead of having it played out in detail.

HELL ON WHEELS is a good start to a new series. It gave us a feel of Walker’s version of passionate love making, against-all-odds relationships, love/hate/love romances dashed with a big serving of espionage and heavy artillery. Book 1 might not have wowed me but I liked it enough to move forward with the series. From what I’ve read so far, I have a feeling it’s Frank who’ll be doing a lot of chasing and begging and I’m sure Rebel is going to make him suffer real good before giving him any gratification.

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Cover + Excerpt Blitz: Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter

Series: Jane Yellowrock 5
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Pre-Order: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

EXCERPT TWO 
Something wet and warm pooled in my palm holding the hilt of the knife. Blood. I was bleeding out. I needed to shift. Fast. I struggled to get the mountain lion tooth out of my pocket, but my fingers didn’t seem to work. I tried to drop into a meditative trance, but the earth spun when I closed my eyes, a sickening lurch. My gorge rose, tasting of blood, and I gagged. The night sky twirled and tightened down, becoming a pinpoint of velvet black sprinkled with white light. I could hear my heartbeat. Thump-thump, thump-thump, fastfastfast. Too fast. I tried again to find the calm in the center of myself, but there was nothing there, no center, no peace. Just the sound of my speeding heart and wet, raspy breath. I was worse off than I thought. Maybe a lot worse. 
I didn’t have the time to shift into my beast to save my life. Beast? I called in my mind. She didn’t answer. No snarky comment. No insult. Nothing. Beast? 
Feet padded in the dark, barely heard. Coming closer. I laughed, the sound little more than a wet, raspy moan. I closed my eyes. Beast pressed her claws into my mind again, the pain sharp and demanding. Forcing me down. I dropped. Deeper. Into the darkness inside my own past, where ancient, tenuous memories swirled in a world of shadow-gray and uncertainty. I heard a distant drum, smelled herbed wood smoke. The night wind coming through the broken window chilled my skin, smelling foreign and hot and dry. Beast forced me deeper, memories firmed, memories that, at all other times, were forgotten, both mine and Beast’s. 
In the memories, I saw a deer with fawn and knew I would not hunt her just now, but only after the fawn was grown. I saw an old woman bending over a fire, her silver hair in braids, her wrinkled face catching light and shadow like the cliffs and valleys of a river gorge. Her eyes were yellow like mine. I saw a kit straying toward the cliff edge and padded over, taking it in my mouth, his entire head in my killing teeth, held gently. I tasted/smelled/felt the kit struggling, heard his mewling cries. Breathed in his scent. Mine. 
My heart rate began to slow. To stutter. The blood pooling in my hand felt chilled. I had held cold blood before. Had placed my hands in it, in the cavity of my father’s chest. And then wiped my fingers across my face in a promise of vengeance. A vengeance I had never taken. The old promise, never fulfilled, scourged me, hatred unfulfilled. A wrong never avenged, never forgiven, I thought. But the concepts of vengeance and forgiveness melted away.

To celebrate this release, Lee of She-Wolf Reads 
is doing a giveaway. You can find it here.