Braine’s Reading Challenge Update: September 2013


It’s that time of the month where I try to be diligent and give you an update about the status of my reading challenges I was brave foolish enough to take. Fingers crossed I’m on track:


Hosted by Sharonda at Salacious Reads
The goal is to read a series beyond the first book.
I didn’t get the chance to do a declaration post so consider this challenge accepted. 

1. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews (5 books)


2. Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep (8 books)


3. Anabelle Lee by Stacey Jay (2 books)

4. Lords of Deliverance by Larissa Ione (5 books)

5. Chronicles of Yavn by Elisabeth Staab (2 books) – DONE


Hosted by Hobbitsies
The goal is to read at least 12 Young Adult or Middle Grade books by either debut authors or authors who are writing for YA-MG readers for the first time  by January 31, 2014. I’m in a YA funk so I’m in the bare essentials mark.

Goal: 12 books
Status: 6 books

January
  1. Enchanted Immortals by C.J. Pinard
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard

February & March – no books read under this category

April

  1. Queen Witch by J.R. Pearse Nelson
  2. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
May
  1. Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne
July – September – none

Hosted by Work Day Reads
The challenge is to read as many ebooks as you can regardless of length or genre. This I’m confident I can do.
List is based on reviews published on the blog or Goodreads.

Goal: Server Status – 100 books – MET
Current Status: 109 books

January
  1. King of Darkness by Elisabeth Staab
  2. Enchanted Immortals by C.J. Pinard
  3. Splintered by A.G. Howard
  4. Big Bad Bite by Jessie Lane
  5. When Silver Moons Rise by KaSonndra Leigh
  6. The Seduction by Lisa Renee Jones
  7. There Is No Light In Darkness by Claire Contreras
  8. Taken by Kelli Maine
  9. No Takebacks by Kelli Maine
  10. Breaking The Rules by Cat Lavoie
  11. Vain by Fisher Amelie
  12. Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy
  13. The Better To See You by Kate Serine
  14. Shadowguard Series by Michelle Zink
  15. Nice Girl by Kate Baum


February

  1. Red Zone by Sherri Hayes
  2. Soul Avenged by Keri Lake
  3. Witch by Tim O’Rourke
  4. Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan
  5. Every Which Way by Calia Read
  6. Tainted Love by Eva Marquez


March

  1. Blood Flows Deep In The Empire by N. Isabelle Blanco
  2. Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
  3. Bring Me Back by Karen Booth
  4. Equal Parts by Emma Winters
  5. Lycan Unleashed by Tiffany Allee
  6. Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand
  7. Corporate Temptress by Stacey Kennedy
  8. Breaking The Wrong by Calia Read
  9. Yellow by Tim O’Rourke
  10. Selling Out by Amber Lin
  11. What’s A Witch To Do by Jennifer Harlow


April

  1. Secret Desire by Susan D. Taylor
  2. In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker
  3. Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker
  4. Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker
  5. Code Red by Amy Noelle
  6. Locked by Maya Cross
  7. Surrender by Stephanie Tyler
  8. Drowning In You by Rebecca Berto
  9. Werewolves be Damned by Stacey Kennedy
  10. Mystically Bound by Stacey Kennedy
  11. The Girl in 6E by Alessandra Torre
  12. Just The Messenger by Ninette Swan
  13. Queen Witch by J.R. Pearse Nelson
  14. Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson
  15. The Summoning by Seraphina Donavan
  16. Eternally Devoted by Stacey Kennedy
  17. Bound by Bonnie Bliss
  18. Down by Contact by Jami Davenport

May

  1. Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
  2. Bitter Disenchantment by Shawntelle Madison
  3. Dead Water by Tim O’Rourke
  4. Click to Subscribe by L.M. Augustine
  5. The Summer He Came Home by Julianna Stone
  6. Dare You To by Katie McGarry
  7. The Stillness Of You by Julie Bale
  8. Thursday Nights by Lisa N. Paul
  9. Knights of Excalibur series by Shannan Albright
  10. Imaginable by J. Meyers
  11. Lockout by Maya Cross
  12. White Trash by Alexandra Allred
  13. Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
  14. Tarnished Knight by Bec McMaster
  15. Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

June
  1. Last Chance by Michelle Birbeck
  2. Being Me by Lisa Renee Jones
  3. Secret Maneuvers by Jessie Lane
  4. Conceal by Juliana Stone
  5. A Cursed Embrace by Cecy Robson
  6. Feeling Death by D.T. Dyllin
  7. Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger
  8. Prince of Power by Elisabeth Staab
  9. Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne
  10. The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz
  11. Silent Warrior by Lindsey Piper (Goodreads)
  12. Offside by Juliana Stone (Goodreads)

July
  1. Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones
  2. Claimed by Stacey Kennedy
  3. Undressed by Avery Aster
  4. Unscrupulous by Avery Aster
  5. Fourth and Goal by Jami Davenport
  6. Love Square by Jessica Ingro
  7. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  8. The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon
  9. How To Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn
  10. Bachelor’s Special by Christine Warner
  11. The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway by Karina Cooper
  12. Her Mad Hatter by Marie Hall – Goodreads *
  13. Hook’s Pan by Marie Hall
  14. Blood Warrior by Lindsey Piper
  15. The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
  16. Beauty Bites by Mary Hughes
  17. Catalyst by Jennifer Snyder
  18. Dead by Tim O’Rourke
  19. What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare – Goodreads *
September
*not included in the EGalley Knockout challenge


This was a great challenge and I’m happy that Christen decided to host another one this year. The objective is to read, as many eGalleys  or eBooks for review from publishers, tours, authors, etc. as you can in three months. If you want to join, click here to know more.

NOTE: refer to the Ebook challenge list

July – 13 books
August – 17 books
September – 16 books*
(Convicted & Why I Love My Gay Boyfriend was read in the month of September but will be reviewed in the blog this October)


2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Talk Supe has read 86 books toward her goal of 150 books.
hide



Have you signed up for any challenges? 
How are you doing so far?



Advertisements

Braine’s Reading Challenge Update: September 2013


It’s that time of the month where I try to be diligent and give you an update about the status of my reading challenges I was brave foolish enough to take. Fingers crossed I’m on track:


Hosted by Sharonda at Salacious Reads
The goal is to read a series beyond the first book.
I didn’t get the chance to do a declaration post so consider this challenge accepted. 

1. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews (5 books)


2. Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep (8 books)


3. Anabelle Lee by Stacey Jay (2 books)

4. Lords of Deliverance by Larissa Ione (5 books)

5. Chronicles of Yavn by Elisabeth Staab (2 books) – DONE


Hosted by Hobbitsies
The goal is to read at least 12 Young Adult or Middle Grade books by either debut authors or authors who are writing for YA-MG readers for the first time  by January 31, 2014. I’m in a YA funk so I’m in the bare essentials mark.

Goal: 12 books
Status: 6 books

January
  1. Enchanted Immortals by C.J. Pinard
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard

February & March – no books read under this category

April

  1. Queen Witch by J.R. Pearse Nelson
  2. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
May
  1. Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne
July – September – none

Hosted by Work Day Reads
The challenge is to read as many ebooks as you can regardless of length or genre. This I’m confident I can do.
List is based on reviews published on the blog or Goodreads.

Goal: Server Status – 100 books – MET
Current Status: 109 books

January
  1. King of Darkness by Elisabeth Staab
  2. Enchanted Immortals by C.J. Pinard
  3. Splintered by A.G. Howard
  4. Big Bad Bite by Jessie Lane
  5. When Silver Moons Rise by KaSonndra Leigh
  6. The Seduction by Lisa Renee Jones
  7. There Is No Light In Darkness by Claire Contreras
  8. Taken by Kelli Maine
  9. No Takebacks by Kelli Maine
  10. Breaking The Rules by Cat Lavoie
  11. Vain by Fisher Amelie
  12. Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy
  13. The Better To See You by Kate Serine
  14. Shadowguard Series by Michelle Zink
  15. Nice Girl by Kate Baum


February

  1. Red Zone by Sherri Hayes
  2. Soul Avenged by Keri Lake
  3. Witch by Tim O’Rourke
  4. Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan
  5. Every Which Way by Calia Read
  6. Tainted Love by Eva Marquez


March

  1. Blood Flows Deep In The Empire by N. Isabelle Blanco
  2. Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
  3. Bring Me Back by Karen Booth
  4. Equal Parts by Emma Winters
  5. Lycan Unleashed by Tiffany Allee
  6. Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand
  7. Corporate Temptress by Stacey Kennedy
  8. Breaking The Wrong by Calia Read
  9. Yellow by Tim O’Rourke
  10. Selling Out by Amber Lin
  11. What’s A Witch To Do by Jennifer Harlow


April

  1. Secret Desire by Susan D. Taylor
  2. In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker
  3. Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker
  4. Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker
  5. Code Red by Amy Noelle
  6. Locked by Maya Cross
  7. Surrender by Stephanie Tyler
  8. Drowning In You by Rebecca Berto
  9. Werewolves be Damned by Stacey Kennedy
  10. Mystically Bound by Stacey Kennedy
  11. The Girl in 6E by Alessandra Torre
  12. Just The Messenger by Ninette Swan
  13. Queen Witch by J.R. Pearse Nelson
  14. Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson
  15. The Summoning by Seraphina Donavan
  16. Eternally Devoted by Stacey Kennedy
  17. Bound by Bonnie Bliss
  18. Down by Contact by Jami Davenport

May

  1. Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
  2. Bitter Disenchantment by Shawntelle Madison
  3. Dead Water by Tim O’Rourke
  4. Click to Subscribe by L.M. Augustine
  5. The Summer He Came Home by Julianna Stone
  6. Dare You To by Katie McGarry
  7. The Stillness Of You by Julie Bale
  8. Thursday Nights by Lisa N. Paul
  9. Knights of Excalibur series by Shannan Albright
  10. Imaginable by J. Meyers
  11. Lockout by Maya Cross
  12. White Trash by Alexandra Allred
  13. Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
  14. Tarnished Knight by Bec McMaster
  15. Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

June
  1. Last Chance by Michelle Birbeck
  2. Being Me by Lisa Renee Jones
  3. Secret Maneuvers by Jessie Lane
  4. Conceal by Juliana Stone
  5. A Cursed Embrace by Cecy Robson
  6. Feeling Death by D.T. Dyllin
  7. Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger
  8. Prince of Power by Elisabeth Staab
  9. Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne
  10. The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz
  11. Silent Warrior by Lindsey Piper (Goodreads)
  12. Offside by Juliana Stone (Goodreads)

July
  1. Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones
  2. Claimed by Stacey Kennedy
  3. Undressed by Avery Aster
  4. Unscrupulous by Avery Aster
  5. Fourth and Goal by Jami Davenport
  6. Love Square by Jessica Ingro
  7. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  8. The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon
  9. How To Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn
  10. Bachelor’s Special by Christine Warner
  11. The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway by Karina Cooper
  12. Her Mad Hatter by Marie Hall – Goodreads *
  13. Hook’s Pan by Marie Hall
  14. Blood Warrior by Lindsey Piper
  15. The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
  16. Beauty Bites by Mary Hughes
  17. Catalyst by Jennifer Snyder
  18. Dead by Tim O’Rourke
  19. What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare – Goodreads *
September
*not included in the EGalley Knockout challenge


This was a great challenge and I’m happy that Christen decided to host another one this year. The objective is to read, as many eGalleys  or eBooks for review from publishers, tours, authors, etc. as you can in three months. If you want to join, click here to know more.

NOTE: refer to the Ebook challenge list

July – 13 books
August – 17 books
September – 16 books*
(Convicted & Why I Love My Gay Boyfriend was read in the month of September but will be reviewed in the blog this October)


2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Talk Supe has read 86 books toward her goal of 150 books.
hide



Have you signed up for any challenges? 
How are you doing so far?



Gush and Gripe: Rating Addendum

Review & Rating Addendum

Have you ever disagreed with your own past reviews and ratings? 
I found myself doing this just recently. I was perusing my Goodreads READ shelf and found some interesting reviews and ratings that I gave certain books which if I read now, I know my feedback would be totally different than what I originally shared. 
See I don’t reread books, I can only count on one hand the books that I have reread in my entire life. I know that details matter, especially when one is pertaining to book series, and I will not contest that point. But to me it’s more about the experience and how these stories made me think and feel at that particular time than anything else. It’s like cherry popping or giving up your V-card, you cannot take the “innocence” and “naivete” of the experience back. Plus I dislike spoilers and rereading is a form spoiler for me. I know who the bad guys are, I know the conflict, I know how it’s going down so the element of anticipation is ruined for me. I know some of you may disagree but I’m not here to argue, these are my personal reasons WHY I don’t reread.
However I’m now rethinking my stance. See, there are so many variables that goes into reading especially if one is a hobbyist blogger like myself. It’s not cut and dry like some of these publicist, authors and tour organizers might think. There’s our mood, our preferred genre, our own prejudices and dispositions on certain topics, and whether or not the book we’re reading is something we picked for ourselves, was recommended or was requested to be reviewed, that are in play. We’re not reading textbooks, we’re reading life stories! It doesn’t matter if it’s fictional or as fantastical as Star Wars, these are still human experiences we live vicariously through these characters every time we flip the page so one can expect that the review will be 75% emotional and 25% other stuff. Especially for unpaid blogs. Most blog reviews are as personal and as subjective as it can get and it all points to some of the variables I mentioned above. 
Case in point, two years ago if you handed me an erotica novel to read I’d probably think long and hard before I say yes not unless there’s an irresistible incentive that goes with it which will benefit Talk Supe. It’s partly due to my uninformed and biased ideas about the genre that made me shy away. When one mentions erotica the word porn enters my mind and I don’t really like reading porn, given the choice, I’d rather watch it. Now that I have a better understanding and appreciation for the genre, I can comfortably read, enjoy and even rave about erotica. In fact some of my favorite books belong to the genre! 
In conclusion, now I’m revisiting some of these reviews that I wrote. Some of the mad gushing/griping I did for certain books I feel no longer apply and I’m almost tempted to revise and/or change the rating I gave. But that’s such a tedious task and I’d rather read than edit. For now I’ll leave everything as it is but I might change my tune when someone asks for a recommendation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my monthly ramblings.


Gush and Gripe: Rating Addendum

Review & Rating Addendum

Have you ever disagreed with your own past reviews and ratings? 
I found myself doing this just recently. I was perusing my Goodreads READ shelf and found some interesting reviews and ratings that I gave certain books which if I read now, I know my feedback would be totally different than what I originally shared. 
See I don’t reread books, I can only count on one hand the books that I have reread in my entire life. I know that details matter, especially when one is pertaining to book series, and I will not contest that point. But to me it’s more about the experience and how these stories made me think and feel at that particular time than anything else. It’s like cherry popping or giving up your V-card, you cannot take the “innocence” and “naivete” of the experience back. Plus I dislike spoilers and rereading is a form spoiler for me. I know who the bad guys are, I know the conflict, I know how it’s going down so the element of anticipation is ruined for me. I know some of you may disagree but I’m not here to argue, these are my personal reasons WHY I don’t reread.
However I’m now rethinking my stance. See, there are so many variables that goes into reading especially if one is a hobbyist blogger like myself. It’s not cut and dry like some of these publicist, authors and tour organizers might think. There’s our mood, our preferred genre, our own prejudices and dispositions on certain topics, and whether or not the book we’re reading is something we picked for ourselves, was recommended or was requested to be reviewed, that are in play. We’re not reading textbooks, we’re reading life stories! It doesn’t matter if it’s fictional or as fantastical as Star Wars, these are still human experiences we live vicariously through these characters every time we flip the page so one can expect that the review will be 75% emotional and 25% other stuff. Especially for unpaid blogs. Most blog reviews are as personal and as subjective as it can get and it all points to some of the variables I mentioned above. 
Case in point, two years ago if you handed me an erotica novel to read I’d probably think long and hard before I say yes not unless there’s an irresistible incentive that goes with it which will benefit Talk Supe. It’s partly due to my uninformed and biased ideas about the genre that made me shy away. When one mentions erotica the word porn enters my mind and I don’t really like reading porn, given the choice, I’d rather watch it. Now that I have a better understanding and appreciation for the genre, I can comfortably read, enjoy and even rave about erotica. In fact some of my favorite books belong to the genre! 
In conclusion, now I’m revisiting some of these reviews that I wrote. Some of the mad gushing/griping I did for certain books I feel no longer apply and I’m almost tempted to revise and/or change the rating I gave. But that’s such a tedious task and I’d rather read than edit. For now I’ll leave everything as it is but I might change my tune when someone asks for a recommendation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my monthly ramblings.


Cover Characteristics: Yellow and Orange

This is a new meme hosted by Sugar and Snark where we pick 5 book covers every Sunday that has a particular characteristic.


THIS WEEK’S THEME
Yellow & Orange 

I thought I’ll be having a hard time with this week’s theme but I so totally had fun researching!
Laini Taylor’s cover arts are always good and they really stepped it up with this one. 
It’s super pretty I want the book for the cover alone!

Cover Characteristics: Yellow and Orange

This is a new meme hosted by Sugar and Snark where we pick 5 book covers every Sunday that has a particular characteristic.


THIS WEEK’S THEME
Yellow & Orange 

I thought I’ll be having a hard time with this week’s theme but I so totally had fun researching!
Laini Taylor’s cover arts are always good and they really stepped it up with this one. 
It’s super pretty I want the book for the cover alone!

Bought Borrowed and Bagged #69

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
for 99 cents from Amazon

Bagged
from Publishers, Authors and Tour Organizers
This week is probably my favorite BB&B edition because of these goodies!
Possession by J.R. Ward is so pretty I just want to keep staring at it. The Better To See You by Kate Serine is so precious, it’s my favorite in the series so far and I wish Lavender came with the package so I could hug her. Kate also included signed samplers and swag to go with it. Giving Up The Ghost by S.A. Price was also a surprise and it had some awesome swag that went with it.
AND be stand-by because I’ll be sharing the extra swag soon!
Extras
By now you should’ve noticed that I’m a cheap reader (I call it smart) and I’m always on the hunt for bargain books. I shared Book Bub with you before and a fellow street team member told me about BARGAIN BOOKSY. Some of you might have been using it already but for the sake of comparison, and additional info for those who are not familiar, BARGAIN BOOKSY provides more deals like 9-10 books than Book Bub’s 5-6. It sends out daily alerts to your email however it only gives you deals, no freebie alerts like Book Bub. 
The next item is GRAMMARLY. Maybe some of you received the email, I tried it because as English is my second language I’m always conscious about my spelling, grammar and tenses plus Plagiarism is a big deal in the blog world so I want to stay away from these errors and GRAMMARLY checks for these. I still have to explore the site and I’m hoping it’ll be a satisfactory experience.
Last Week’s Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
Suzy Duffy (INT)
win 1 of 2 digital copies of Newton Neighbors
ends Sept. 29

Christine Warner (INT)

win a $25 Amazon GC
ends Sept. 30

J.R. Ward (US)
win a print copy of Covet
ends Sept. 30

Jessie Lane (INT)
win books, swag & more goodies
ends Sept. 30

J.B. McGee (INT)
win a $20 GC & swag packs
ends Oct. 1

Stacey Kennedy (INT)
win an ebook of Bet on Ecstasy
ends Oct. 1

Marie Hall (INT)
win a $50 gift card
ends Oct. 2

Chelsea Camaron (INT)
win the Daddy’s Girl series & more
ends Oct. 4

Naima Simone
win a gift card, bling and books
ends Oct. 4

Karey White (INT)
win a $25 gift card
ends Oct. 8

Colleen Helme (INT)
win an audio book of Carrots
ends Oct. 24

Check out these other fabulous blogs that participate in 
Bought, Borrowed & Bagged:

NOTE: This is a laid back meme so we prefer that you use your LABEL LINKS instead of your weekly permalink that way you can just post at your convenience minus the extra task of linking up.

Bought Borrowed and Bagged #69

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
for 99 cents from Amazon

Bagged
from Publishers, Authors and Tour Organizers
This week is probably my favorite BB&B edition because of these goodies!
Possession by J.R. Ward is so pretty I just want to keep staring at it. The Better To See You by Kate Serine is so precious, it’s my favorite in the series so far and I wish Lavender came with the package so I could hug her. Kate also included signed samplers and swag to go with it. Giving Up The Ghost by S.A. Price was also a surprise and it had some awesome swag that went with it.
AND be stand-by because I’ll be sharing the extra swag soon!
Extras
By now you should’ve noticed that I’m a cheap reader (I call it smart) and I’m always on the hunt for bargain books. I shared Book Bub with you before and a fellow street team member told me about BARGAIN BOOKSY. Some of you might have been using it already but for the sake of comparison, and additional info for those who are not familiar, BARGAIN BOOKSY provides more deals like 9-10 books than Book Bub’s 5-6. It sends out daily alerts to your email however it only gives you deals, no freebie alerts like Book Bub. 
The next item is GRAMMARLY. Maybe some of you received the email, I tried it because as English is my second language I’m always conscious about my spelling, grammar and tenses plus Plagiarism is a big deal in the blog world so I want to stay away from these errors and GRAMMARLY checks for these. I still have to explore the site and I’m hoping it’ll be a satisfactory experience.
Last Week’s Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
Suzy Duffy (INT)
win 1 of 2 digital copies of Newton Neighbors
ends Sept. 29

Christine Warner (INT)

win a $25 Amazon GC
ends Sept. 30

J.R. Ward (US)
win a print copy of Covet
ends Sept. 30

Jessie Lane (INT)
win books, swag & more goodies
ends Sept. 30

J.B. McGee (INT)
win a $20 GC & swag packs
ends Oct. 1

Stacey Kennedy (INT)
win an ebook of Bet on Ecstasy
ends Oct. 1

Marie Hall (INT)
win a $50 gift card
ends Oct. 2

Chelsea Camaron (INT)
win the Daddy’s Girl series & more
ends Oct. 4

Naima Simone
win a gift card, bling and books
ends Oct. 4

Karey White (INT)
win a $25 gift card
ends Oct. 8

Colleen Helme (INT)
win an audio book of Carrots
ends Oct. 24

Check out these other fabulous blogs that participate in 
Bought, Borrowed & Bagged:

NOTE: This is a laid back meme so we prefer that you use your LABEL LINKS instead of your weekly permalink that way you can just post at your convenience minus the extra task of linking up.

Braine Reviews: Charming by Elliott James

Series: Pax Arcana 1
Format: eGalley
Excerpt
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Publisher: Orbit
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

John Charming isn’t your average Prince…

He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn’t change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar… Right?

I like reading novels, fantasy novels in particular, in the male POV. It’s so cut and dry and even if there are romantic interludes, it’s kept to a minimum and instead maxes out on the action/adventure part of the story. It’s another level when writer is a man (Hello! Jason Bourne, James Bond, Aragon & Legolas), I find these heroes fascinating in their dispassionate and ruthless approach to their life’s missions and existence. And male POV driven stories is a great way to break the streak of emotionally driven novels usually written in the heroine’s POV or benefit, these kinds of books reset my reader settings to factory default.
Armed with these impossible expectations, I heralded my weekend with Elliott James’ CHARMING. Read the blurb and you’ll understand why I’m such an eager beaver to read this…. see?! Anyway John Charming is admittedly, not a Prince. He explained that on the first part of the book so any fantasies I, and some of you might have, about romanticizing him is squashed. He’s a warrior, an outcast, hunted, bitter, jaded and a smart-ass. He’s a lone wolf and for years have been surviving hunting expeditions by his fellow Templars. Yes, The Knights Templars. Exciting right? The Templars being the hunters and John Charming as their prized buck who they will eagerly send to the taxidermist after they’re done skinning him alive. So far he’s been successful in dodging his fellow Templars and staying on the DL until a blonde walked in at the bar he was working at. 
And thus began the hunt for a newly bred teen vampire who’s too smart for her own good. I don’t understand why vampires is the first course in Pax Arcana, it’s a new series and EJames is carving a niche for himself amongst urban fantasy readers, why go with the overexposed and overused vampires?! Anyway, the plot was still great, it’s fueled with large amounts of adrenalin, clever plotting, smart-ass dialogue coupled with a smorgasboard of otherworldly creatures ranging from the familiar to the exotic. So aside from the fangers, we have werewolves, Valkyries, and nagas to name a few. The cast of characters are great with a some double-crossing to keep John Charming and his posse on the balls of their feet. 
The romance was very light but the implications of John having feelings for the unavailable Valkyrie, Sig, is complicated. It’s a forbidden love triangle kind of thing. Thank goodness it wasn’t annoying because though Sig is involved with someone, he’s an ass and it’s one of those cases where she owes him her life sort of and she’s loathe to leave him even if he’s an jacka$$. They managed to work it out in the end but as John puts it, there’s not happily in their ever after. They just lived. And this is where male driven POVs is so different from it’s female counterpart. If this were the latter, you bet there’d be a lot of emotional drama and sometimes, I need a break from them simpering females.

The truth is that the world is under a spell called the Pax Arcana, a compulsion that makes people unable to see, believe, or even seriously consider any evidence of the supernatural that is not an immediate threat to their survival.

The world building is impressive, it’s rich and EJames did a real good job in terms of presenting the otherworldly existing side by side with the ignorant, human world. At the same time, he used too much cocoa on an otherwise decadent novel. CHARMING has the makings of being a modern fanboy novel because EJames through John, regurgitates bits and pieces of myth, lores and legends and piled together you get a novel that may give you information overload! I get it, EJames did a lot of research and wanted to give us a super unique world but it became excessive which placed speed bumps on the pace of the story. I read that EJames already trimmed his interludes down, honestly CHARMING could use another round of trimming and saved what’s on the cutting floor for the next books. Here’s an example:

“It’s kresnik,” Choo said irritably. “Not Kreskin.” [to which John thought] Sometimes I forget how old I am. I thought about explaining that Kreskin was a famous stage psychic whose name was an anagram for kresnik, but let it drop.

I may not have fallen in love with CHARMING but I did like it. The first half was a little challenging to get through because of the information overload but there was enough humor and smart-ass remarks to distract me from that and have me plowing through. The second half was much better probably because I’ve already adjusted to EJames writing style. But hey, I wasn’t impressed with Darkfever at first myself but look at where the Fever series is now? I’m not sure if this review will matter to Orbit & Co. but if maybe they could make this less of a teaching novel, I’m sure it’ll be more universally appealing to the readers of the genre. Right now I feel it’s limiting its audience and John Charming comes across as Mr. Know It All and I don’t really want a hero who will correct or spew out trivia at every opportunity. I have Google for that. 

Braine Reviews: Charming by Elliott James

Series: Pax Arcana 1
Format: eGalley
Excerpt
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Publisher: Orbit
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

John Charming isn’t your average Prince…

He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn’t change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar… Right?

I like reading novels, fantasy novels in particular, in the male POV. It’s so cut and dry and even if there are romantic interludes, it’s kept to a minimum and instead maxes out on the action/adventure part of the story. It’s another level when writer is a man (Hello! Jason Bourne, James Bond, Aragon & Legolas), I find these heroes fascinating in their dispassionate and ruthless approach to their life’s missions and existence. And male POV driven stories is a great way to break the streak of emotionally driven novels usually written in the heroine’s POV or benefit, these kinds of books reset my reader settings to factory default.
Armed with these impossible expectations, I heralded my weekend with Elliott James’ CHARMING. Read the blurb and you’ll understand why I’m such an eager beaver to read this…. see?! Anyway John Charming is admittedly, not a Prince. He explained that on the first part of the book so any fantasies I, and some of you might have, about romanticizing him is squashed. He’s a warrior, an outcast, hunted, bitter, jaded and a smart-ass. He’s a lone wolf and for years have been surviving hunting expeditions by his fellow Templars. Yes, The Knights Templars. Exciting right? The Templars being the hunters and John Charming as their prized buck who they will eagerly send to the taxidermist after they’re done skinning him alive. So far he’s been successful in dodging his fellow Templars and staying on the DL until a blonde walked in at the bar he was working at. 
And thus began the hunt for a newly bred teen vampire who’s too smart for her own good. I don’t understand why vampires is the first course in Pax Arcana, it’s a new series and EJames is carving a niche for himself amongst urban fantasy readers, why go with the overexposed and overused vampires?! Anyway, the plot was still great, it’s fueled with large amounts of adrenalin, clever plotting, smart-ass dialogue coupled with a smorgasboard of otherworldly creatures ranging from the familiar to the exotic. So aside from the fangers, we have werewolves, Valkyries, and nagas to name a few. The cast of characters are great with a some double-crossing to keep John Charming and his posse on the balls of their feet. 
The romance was very light but the implications of John having feelings for the unavailable Valkyrie, Sig, is complicated. It’s a forbidden love triangle kind of thing. Thank goodness it wasn’t annoying because though Sig is involved with someone, he’s an ass and it’s one of those cases where she owes him her life sort of and she’s loathe to leave him even if he’s an jacka$$. They managed to work it out in the end but as John puts it, there’s not happily in their ever after. They just lived. And this is where male driven POVs is so different from it’s female counterpart. If this were the latter, you bet there’d be a lot of emotional drama and sometimes, I need a break from them simpering females.

The truth is that the world is under a spell called the Pax Arcana, a compulsion that makes people unable to see, believe, or even seriously consider any evidence of the supernatural that is not an immediate threat to their survival.

The world building is impressive, it’s rich and EJames did a real good job in terms of presenting the otherworldly existing side by side with the ignorant, human world. At the same time, he used too much cocoa on an otherwise decadent novel. CHARMING has the makings of being a modern fanboy novel because EJames through John, regurgitates bits and pieces of myth, lores and legends and piled together you get a novel that may give you information overload! I get it, EJames did a lot of research and wanted to give us a super unique world but it became excessive which placed speed bumps on the pace of the story. I read that EJames already trimmed his interludes down, honestly CHARMING could use another round of trimming and saved what’s on the cutting floor for the next books. Here’s an example:

“It’s kresnik,” Choo said irritably. “Not Kreskin.” [to which John thought] Sometimes I forget how old I am. I thought about explaining that Kreskin was a famous stage psychic whose name was an anagram for kresnik, but let it drop.

I may not have fallen in love with CHARMING but I did like it. The first half was a little challenging to get through because of the information overload but there was enough humor and smart-ass remarks to distract me from that and have me plowing through. The second half was much better probably because I’ve already adjusted to EJames writing style. But hey, I wasn’t impressed with Darkfever at first myself but look at where the Fever series is now? I’m not sure if this review will matter to Orbit & Co. but if maybe they could make this less of a teaching novel, I’m sure it’ll be more universally appealing to the readers of the genre. Right now I feel it’s limiting its audience and John Charming comes across as Mr. Know It All and I don’t really want a hero who will correct or spew out trivia at every opportunity. I have Google for that.