Pack Review w/She-Wolf Reads: Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin 8

Format: eGalley
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Recommended By: Amber I. Awesomesauce Book Blog
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only theplace to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

BRAINE: Hi Lee! I missed you, beech! Where have you been?! Gosh it’s been almost a MONTH! How are you?

LEE: I know, I’m sorry.  Work has been kicking my butt and it hasn’t let up.  I probably won’t be on top of it until July!  But enough about me.  

On to DEADLY STING….This made me sad but I have to admit it — this is my least favorite in the series. It was Gin’s version of Die Hard but a little less exciting.  And I am still so mad about Owen.  What did you think?

BRAINE: Yeah, Owen’s a dick & I’m with you. I can’t believe he’s carrying some sort of grudge over what happened in WIDOW’S WEB…. DEADLY STING felt like a filler volume.

LEE: I liked that the Giants took center stage here.  Clementine was a worthy villain but I kind of feel like it was all setup for what was really the ultimate issue here which was Mab’s will.  Convince me this book was necessary? (too harsh?)

BRAINE: I agree and hard truths are necessary at times. I’m with you, I didn’t see the whole point of this novel except for Gin finally out maneuvering the lawyer. Fluck! What’s his name?! MENTAL BLOCK!!!

LEE: Jonah McAllister!

BRAINE: LOL… This chat thing is fun… yes! Jonah McAllister! The walking Botoxed man or whatever he calls his facial treatment!

LEE: But how did you feel about how that was handled?  I felt like the book dragged on a bit and then the Jonah thing was tagged on.

BRAINE: It took me quite some time to finish DEADLY STING. Although the action and pace was great, like you, I didn’t see WHY this has to be a story arc. I know JEstep is trying to start up something here but again, the big production was a bit excessive!

LEE: Yes, I guess it was all about Jonah trying to hide the will essentially, but also unveiling a new potential threat – Mab’s heir. I can’t help but feel like this could have been handled in the first three chapters of another book.

I love this series but I have to get a bit critical for a moment — I’m tired of the constant asides of Gin bragging about her prowess. I’m on book eight, I think at this point I know she is a bad ass.  She knows she is a bad ass.  No more, “He’d realize how wrong he was soon enough – when I killed him.”  On the one hand, I think the repetitiveness that I nitpicked about before has lessened, and now these constant asides have started to grate.

BRAINE: Funny, I follow a blog who’s also binge-reading Elemental Assassin and she more or less said the same thing…. and all this self-doubt IS getting old. Like girl, how many people do you have to kill before you realize you’re The Spider?! I’m all for humility but I’m also for taking credit where credit is due!

LEE: Yes but it’s also not only humility but she’s so bad ass she doesn’t have to say anything.  Nothing.  I know as well as everyone in the Ashland-verse, that Gin is going to kill somebody but good.  She doesn’t need to preface it or foreshadow it or shit-talk anymore; she can just do it, get on with it.  Her reputation is enough.

BRAINE: Yeah, she has a Reputation and there’s a reason why it’s there. Embrace it Gin! Stop dallying girl and embrace your Queen B status!! LOL… speaking of Queen B. What’s your theory about this Monroe person? Honestly I’m excited, Gin’s opponents post-Mab are so-so except for Salina, I’m hoping that this Monroe character is a super villain.

LEE: Yes!  This was the most worthy thing to come out of this story.  Is it a man or woman?  Are they as strong as Mab?  As vicious and unredeemable?  I’m super excited to see who the heck this person is and whether or not he/she is coming for Gin.   Did you read the synopsis for the next book?

BRAINE: I wonder if s/he is holding a grudge on Gin and I wonder if there’s more to Gin’s family’s murder than what was told. This Monroe person is certainly a wild card and the possibilities are endless for me at this point…

*reading the blurb for the next book* After book 5, I tried not to read anymore blurbs because some of them are “spoilery”… ok do you think Heart of Venom is filler-ish? I love Sophia but this feels like another “side story”… I do like the part about Gin & Owen. Hopefully Owen gets his shiznit together because at this point, Gin deserves so much better than what he’s giving her now.

LEE: You’re right.  I does sound kind of fillerish but honestly, I’ve been dying to know about Sophia’s past so this is one filler that I might embrace.  I hope it pushes the Mab connection forward, too.

BRAINE: You’re right, Sophia’s a mystery to me too and despite Jojo telling us what happened, I want to see Sophia in action and what she does with the bodies. I just hope that it’s not like DEADLY STING where it felt pointless.

LEE: Final Verdict?

BRAINE: Loved WIDOW’S WEB, I wasn’t expecting an assassin’s love life could be like daytime soap LOL… DEADLY STING not so much. Even if DEADLY STING opened a Monroe arc, I didn’t really care much for Clementine and her squad of giants. I feel like that could’ve been a side story and this Monroe person the main plot.

LEE: I think we’re in agreement.  WIDOW’S WEB was great but DEADLY STING was a disappointment.  I normally rip through these books but this one took me a while to finish.  I’m hoping the return of the Mab storyline continues to be developed because I think it has the most potential to match the greatness that was Mab Monroe as Gin’s nemesis.

BRAINE: Yeah, JEstep did so well with Mab’s arc that she’s probably having a hard time topping that LOL. Fingers cross all this build-up won’t be anti-climactic.

Lee and I doubled up this month, read our chat review 

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #103 + Yard Sale Score!

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. 

Still lazy. Still procrastinating.

Boughtall for $6.75 from the neighbor’s yard sale

I’m so psyched by this yard sale haul! Gotta love neighbors who read & doesn’t have bookshelf space anymore! I got the complete quartet of Charlaine Harris’ Harper Connelly Series, I’ve read the first two a few years back and though it’s slow to pick up, it’s a great series overall; and 3 of Harris’ Aurora Teagarden Series. Paranormal or not, Harris can write a clever fantasy and that’s why I have to snatch these up.
Christopher Moore I love, his sense of humor is on another level entirely so there is no way I’m passing up on Fool. Then there’s Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven. I didn’t enjoy the movie adaptation, it’s too long, and a book is always the better alternative anyway.
What I’m most excited about it is the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich! It’s lacking volumes 9, 12 & 13, I can always hunt for those either at Goodwill or at another yard sale, and at $4 all in all, there’s no way I’m passing up on this collection! 
And it’s because of the cheap thrill I got from thrift shopping that had me posting my BB&B early this week. A lot of bookish people are in BEA, I’ll settle for yard sales. LOL

from publishers, authors and tour organizers


Big & Small

Aside from House of Cards, Netflix’s ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK another must-watch series for me. I love the whole concept of life inside a women’s correctional facility. It’s more comedy than drama and I’m sure it’s not an accurate portrayal of how tense and depressing things are behind bars. Still I love each individual stories and the [anti] heroine, Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is a girl you’ll love to hate. She’ll have you rooting for her at first but as the story progress, you’ll see her horns come out. Behind her saccharine sweetness and charming attitude lies a manipulative girl but it’s so subtle one can easily see her as a victim. Ha!
The best part is, if you have the time, you can watch the entire series in a few days as all 13 episodes are dumped in one day. No weekly waits, no setting the DVR. This is tailored for people who love to binge like me. Season two will be available on Netflix on June 6.

Last Week’s Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
Christina Lee
win 1 of 15 print copies of ALL OF YOU
ends May 30

Darynda Jones (INTL)
win 1 of 5 signed copies of SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE
ends June 2

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.


A Shot of YA: Blood Rule by Heather Hildenbrand

Series: Dirty Blood 4

Format: Mobi
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Elephantine Publishing
Source: Author
Recommended By: Amber I. (Awesomesauce)
Genre: YA | Urban Fantasy

That’s how many hybrids survived the Hunter attack in the woods after I revived them with an injection of my blood. That’s how many followed me home to Frederick Falls. And that’s how many were now mentally linked to me through a blood bond.

Two days. Three valium. Fourteen hours of sleep.
That’s what it took to realize I wasn’t losing my mind as a result of the noise in my own head.

That’s how many days have passed since I almost killed Alex. That’s how many days I’ve sat by his bedside, waiting for him to wake up. To ease the guilt, to understand his betrayal, to remember the exact shade of brown in his eyes.

That’s my chances of skating by with Gordon Steppe and the Hunter Council. They want me for questioning. I’m afraid what’ll happen if I give them answers.

3.5 cauldrons
It’s been a while since I read the last Dirty Blood book so I have to skim Blood Bond before I started BLOOD RULE. Blood Bond ended in a cliffhanger and a dilemma for Tara and as a heroine, she’s grown into her role as pack Alpha immensely in book 3. Her relationship with Wes is at its strongest and things are slowly falling into place, with or without this war with the Hunters and then the hybrids. So it’s with great excitement that I started BLOOD RULE thinking that finally we’ll get our hands dirty and the confrontations will start. I sort of got that but not towards the end and overall, BLOOD RULE has a filler-ish feel to it.

–you think that loving someone means chaining them up. All that does is handicap them, make them unprepared for when danger finally finds them.

Story-wise, I guess things are STILL in the process of falling into place. Some key plyaers are out of commission for one reason or another and Tara’s really on her own here. Her support system is busy with their own troubles and all the major decisions and what-not are solely her own now. I felt Tara’s apprehension in all these, she’s still a teen after all and this responsibility and whatever prophesy she’s supposed to fulfill have been forcefully thrust to her so I get why she’s lacking confidence on some parts. I liked how she’s sort of the reluctant heroine in BLOOD RULE and would just plow through things via sheer courage and determination. The romantic element is a tad lukewarm on this volume, not that I minded, but HHildenbrand focused more on the overall series conflict and the politics between the protagonists and antagonists. 
And it’s because of all these talks and endless strategizing that made BLOOD RULE feel like a filler volume to me. Although I understood the virtue of what HHildenbrand did here for the series, part of me also feels that this part of the overarching plot doesn’t necessarily have to be one whole book. That and my ulterior motive being I want the villain, Gordon Steppe, to finally be defeated and for Tara to finally become the big bad wolf everyone’s been waiting for. And as always, BLOOD RULE ended in a cliffhanger and I’m anxious to see if we’ll get more action in the next book or it’ll still be this long game of chess between Tara Godfrey and Gordon Steppe.

It’s for my loved ones that I race into the fire so they don’t have to.

Books in the series

Loved It: Celestial Blues Trilogy by Vicki Pettersson

Harper Voyager
Urban Fantasy
Series debuted 2012

Quotable Quotes

“You can’t have no future if you don’t have no past, and the past ain’t never done with you. At the end of your life, all you have is what you know.” – Tony, The Taken

“Take it from a pro. You know a man by his thrust.” – Bridgett, The Taken

“Being single is about hope. It’s about the future… the person you might beet at Starbucks or online or in the next aisle at the grocery store.” – Kit Craig, The Taken

“Because it’s not about the war, darling. It’s about the win.” – Kit Craig, The Lost

“Love is only between mankind and God, Kit. It’s poisonous to beings that were created, not born.” – Griffin Shaw, The Lost

“What will your sunrises look like if I’m gone? How will your days stretch out before you, and what will you do to fill in all of those years, all that time (without me)?” – Griffin Shaw, The Given

A binge-read of Vicki Pettersson’s Celestial Blues Trilogy is what kept me preoccupied for most of last week hence my absentia from the blogosphere. The trilogy is a good chunk at 1100+ pages combined and as these are fantasy novels, the intricate myth gave it a little weight in terms of the pace. And I like to take my time when reading urban fantasy because the devil, or in this case, God, is in the details and I don’t want to miss anything. 
Celestial Blues’ myth are based on Angels and life after death and the overarching plot is more about Griffin Shaw, former P.I. turned Centurion, turned Angel-Man, and his and his wife, Evelyn Shaw’s death 50 years ago. Even in the Everafter, Grif is still not in peace until he solved the mystery of his murder and it isn’t until his path crossed with Katherine “Kit” Craig, rockabilly chick, super sleuth and newspaper reporter, that Grif finally figured out the pieces of his assassination. It all came full circle and you wouldn’t believe how thick the conspiracy is and how much plotting went into Grif’s death. This is also testament to VPettersson’s creativity and genius as each detail is an integral part of something bigger, no afterthought, no beating around the bush. It’s clear that the storyline has been drawn and drafted from start to finish. Reading Celestial Blues in succession left in me awe of VPettersson’s vision, I wish there were more books but at the same time ending the series at this point is also a good call. 
Being the first book in the series THE TAKEN  is heavy on the myth building. I was so enthralled with Kit’s rockabilly vibe I started researching how to do Victory curls and started practicing it on my own hair. If only I can find the right shade of red lipstick I think I can pull the look off this coming Halloween, LOL. THE TAKEN is also my least favorite book of the three. While all the Angels were pulling Grif this way and that, I felt their conversations to be very preachy. Not that I don’t love God, I love God, I just felt like a fiction/fantasy isn’t the perfect place to share His Word? I guess I’m just serious with my religion, when one talks about Gods and Angels, I want it to be in a platform where things will be taken as is or even truth and not fiction. 
THE LOST was a book about the fallen angels although VPettersson didn’t really dwell too much on the good vs. evil theme. THE LOST was more of a devil’s advocate kind of thing with Scratch and Sarge tugging on Kit’s vulnerabilities and Grif’s love than the eternal battle between angels and demons. I like VPettersson’s version of “Hell” and it’s inhabitants, eternal damnation isn’t so eternal and I liked that sense of hopefulness ascribed to the myth. As for our lovers, Kit and Grif are in a cusp at this point, the former madly and unconditionally in love with the latter even if the shadow of Evelyn Shaw is still hovering over their heads. I have mixed feelings for Kit and Grif at this point, I’m sad about their situation because Grif loves Kit but his obsession about his death and his then wife, Evelyn, is too consuming it edged Kit out. Kit for her part is trying to be understanding and accommodating and I can’t help but admire her for her maturity. If it were me, I don’t think I would be so keen on feeding my lover’s obsession with his ex-wife. Ouchie!
THE GIVEN is the best of the trilogy as is fitting as it’s the last book in the series. Battles were waged on all fronts. Plot-wise I loved the full circle concept, Celestial Blues ended the way it began and it all concluded with a good bang! Griffin finally solved his murder but not without much heartache. You won’t believe the how, why, and who of the it all! The way the mystery played out and its conclusion was great! As for the romance, I loved how it didn’t feel convenient and it wasn’t a given either, Kit and Grif had to EARN their HEA which made their love story unique and left quite the impact on me. Grif’s letter to Kit… ugh!… broke my heart!
Anyway, Celestial Blues is one of the most unique concept I’ve read so far. Kit is a heroine I won’t soon forget and her and Grif’s love story really resonated with me. It’s so… adult and all encompassing my heart was in sync with Kit’s. The feel is very noir and the mystery is simple but thick with intrigue and well played out. So if you’re tired of the usual, I suggest you give Celestial Blues a whirl, it’s only three books and as the series is recently ended, you wouldn’t have to wait for months for the next book to come out. Binge-read this baby, you won’t be sorry!

Steampunk Sundays: Lady Jessica: Monster Hunter [Troubling Times] by Keith Dumble

Series: Lady Jessica: Monster Hunter 2

Format: Mobi
Release Date: March 20, 2014
Publisher: McAlpin Press
Source: Author
Genre: Steampunk | Serial

In which Major Thomas Carruthers asks for the aid of The Black Diamonds in solving a most puzzling mystery unfolding at his country mansion: the resolution of which has repercussions beyond comprehension.

And The Black Diamond’s adventures continue in episode 2 of Keith Dumble’s Steampunk serial, LADY JESSICA: MONSTER HUNTER [TROUBLING TIMES]. Very steampunk with it’s long-ish title, eh. Episode 1, Heart of the Empire, dealt with vampires, episode 2’s theme is about time travel and a garish future destroyed by dragons thanks to man’s greedy nature. Yup, dragons! As always, I can’t give you a good plot summary else I give so much of it away. Let me just reassure you that KDumble is relentless in giving us heaping servings of action. There’s not a dull moment in Lady Jessica & Co.’s life it seems as each action sequence is immediately followed by a revelation and these two devices would alternate in this 80-paged serial. Quite the pace which I love because nothing beats a good read than a quick read. 
The world building is wonderful even if the setting is centric on Lady Jessica’s mission and whereabouts. KDumble would slip pieces here and there to give us a glimpse of his Empire and so far I’m loving it. There’s gadgets are in abundance and science plays a big part in his world. There’s not much of a paranormal vibe, LADY JESSICA: MONSTER HUNTER [TROUBLING TIMES] leans more on the sci-fi adventure but it’s not riddled with too much jargon that it becomes too highfalutin and boring.
So why give LADY JESSICA: MONSTER HUNTER [TROUBLING TIMES] only 3 cauldrons? Well I’m still waiting to see/meet the other side of Lady Jessica. At this point, I know her facets as a leader and soldier but I’d like to meet the woman, see her human side and that part of her that craves the adventure and daredevil acts. There’s not much character development at this point but from how things ended in episode 2, I’m hoping that episode 3 will satisfy my wants and make Lady Jessica a completely fleshed out character.

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #102

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. 

Busy. Lazy. Procrastinator.
This was me this week and I needed the blog break! For a week I enjoyed my leave of absence, purely reading for pleasure & I’m sure y’all understand that so THANK YOU for bearing with me this week. 
Regular programming starts TODAY. Oh! And enjoy the holiday weekend if you’re in the US.

Borrowedfrom the library

from publishers, authors and tour organizers


Keeping Secrets by Kiru Taye won from Sharonda @ Salacious Reads

Big & Small

BITTEN is finally on Netflix so this is what I’ve been binge-watching with this week. Again if y’all are unfamiliar, the series is based on Kelly Armstrong’s Otherworld Series but as I haven’t read the books, I can’t compare if the adaptation’s a good one or not. So far it’s been entertaining and I love the pace of the story plus their werewolves are decent even if it’s computer generated. The actors needs some improvement (I know, I’m hard to please! LOL) but it’s palatable unlike Salem
The heroine, Elena (Laura Vandervoort) is irritating me at this point, constantly telling her pack mates off, telling them she doesn’t want to go back and all that shiznit. I’m like DO IT ALREADY! Surprisingly, Clayton Danvers (Greyston Holt) is growing on me, first impression I didn’t like the dude playing him but after 5 ep. the guy’s decent.
You can watch full episodes here if you don’t have Netflix.

Last Week’s Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
win an ereader & ebooks
ends May 18

Juliana Stone (US/Canada)
win a print copy of BOYS LIKE YOU
ends May 25

Kristen Painter
win the House of Comarre series, House of the Rising Sun & swag
ends May 25

Macy Beckett (US)
win a print copy of MAKE YOU MINE
ends May 29

Christina Lee
win 1 of 15 print copies of ALL OF YOU
ends May 30

Darynda Jones (INTL)
win 1 of 5 signed copies of SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE
ends June 2

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.


Suped Up Feature: Sixth Grave On The Edge by Darynda Jones + Cookie & Amber Chat & Giveaway

Sixth Grave On The Edge
Charley Davidson 6
Darynda Jones
St. Martin’s Press
May 20, 2014
Urban Fantasy
Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it’s time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn’t come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear. 
Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she’s used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.

Chapter One

A blank is the only thing I draw well.


“A girl, a mocha latte, and a naked dead man walk into a bar,” I said, turning to the naked dead man sitting in my passenger’s seat. The elderly naked dead man who’d been riding shotgun in my cherry red Jeep Wrangler, aka Misery, for two days now. We were on a stakeout. Sort of. I was staking out a Mr. and Mrs. Foster, so I was definitely on a stakeout. No idea what Naked Dead Man was on. Considering the fact that he looked about 112, probably blood thinners. Cholesterol medication. And, judging from the state of his manhood, which I couldn’t stop seeing every single time I turned toward him, Viagra. If I were to hash-tag that moment, my status would read something like #impressed.
I gave him two thumbs up, then looked back at the house again, happy to be sitting in Misery. The Jeep, not the emotion. I’d just picked her up from the car hospital two days earlier. She’d had several surgeries to fix her broken girlie bits because a raving lunatic rammed into her. He’d knocked her into a state of mangled disrepair and me, as I was in the driver’s seat at the time, into a state of oblivion. I stayed in that state long enough for Mr. Raving Lunatic to cart me off to a deserted bridge to kill me. He failed and died in the process, but Misery had paid a high price for his nefarious machinations. Why did bad guys always try to hurt the ones I loved?
And this one had succeeded. Misery was hurt. Bad. No one wanted to work on her. Said she couldn’t be saved. Said to give her over to the scrap yard. Thankfully, a family friend with a body shop and a few incriminating photos, which just happened to have found their way into my possession, agreed with great reluctance to try.
Noni kept her for two long weeks before calling to tell me that he’d almost lost her a couple of times, but she’d pulled through with flying colors. When I got the green light to go pick her up, I tore out of my apartment so fast, I left a dust trail behind me, along with a flummoxed best friend, who’d been telling me about the couple in 3C. They were apparently newlyweds, if their energy to do it—her words—all night every night was any indication. I hurried back to her, however, because I didn’t have a car and I needed a ride.
When we picked up Misery, Noni tried to tell me everything he’d had to do to her to get her up and running, but I held up a hand to stop him, unable to bear it. This was Misery he was talking about. Not some random Wrangler off the streets. This was my Wrangler. My best friend. My baby.
Holy cow, I needed a life.
I had to hand it to Noni, though. Misery was good as new. Better than I was, anyway. Ever since that night, I’d been having problems sleeping. I suffered from debilitating nightmares that left me screaming into my pillow, and I jumped every time someone dropped a feather.
But at least Misery was okay. Like, really okay. It was weird. Her cough was gone. Her sluggish response time was no longer an issue. Her reluctance to wake up in the mornings as she sputtered in protest every time I tried to fire all engines was nonexistent. Now she started on the first try, no groaning or whining, and she purred like a newborn kitten. How Noni had managed to fix her insides as well as her outsides I’d never know, but the guy was good. And Noni was my new best friend. Well, after Misery. And Cookie, my real best friend. And Garrett, my kind of, sort of best friend. And Reyes, my. . . my . . .
What was Reyes? Besides the dark and sultry son of evil? My boy toy? My love slave? My 24/7 booty call?
Well, yes.
He was all those things, but he was also my almost-fiancé. All I had to do was say yes to the proposal he’d written on a sticky note, and he would be my fiancé for reals. Until then, however, he was my almost fiancé.
No, my soon-to-be fiancé.
No! My nigh fiancé.
Yeah, that’d work.
I turned back to the naked dead man, stuffed a couple of Cheez-Its into my mouth, and confessed my latest sin.
“I’m just kidding,” I said through the crackers, regretting the fact that I’d tempted him and now had no follow-up. No punch line. “I don’t know any ‘girl, mocha latte, dead man’ jokes. Sorry to get your hopes up like that.” He didn’t seem to mind, however. He sat staring straight ahead as always, his gray eyes clouded and watery with age, oblivious of my charm, my clever repartee, and my intellectual wit. He was ignoring me!
It happened.
“Cheez-It?” I offered him.

Hello Cookie and Amber! It’s such a pleasure to have you here with us today: 

Cookie: Thank you for having us! 
Amber: Hi. 

Cookie, how would you describe your relationship with Charley? 

Cookie: In a word, turbulent. Not so much our relationship, but our lives because of it. Our relationship is . . . well, I feel like Charley is more a sister than a friend or employer. We just clicked the first time we met, you know? And the more I get to know her, the more impressed I am. 

Amber, you and Charley seem to have gotten closer. What would you say are Charley’s most endearing qualities? 

Amber: She’s like a crazy aunt I can tell anything to. And she talks to dead people all the time. I crack up when she uses her phone so the alive people don’t know she’s talking to the dead people. Also, she named her boobies. 

Cookie and Amber, both of you have been witness to some bizarre and unexplainable things since Charley moved into the Causeway. When did you first notice that Charley was different? 

Cookie: Well, I noticed it pretty early. I had to drag the truth out of her, and it took some getting used to, but she’s growing on me. 

Amber: I noticed right off when she was outside our apartment while we were moving in, talking to a light bulb. Not many people do that. 

Cookie and Amber it seems you have a new neighbor. How has that change been? Cookie do you borrow much sugar? 

Cookie: Oh, well, ahem, it’s been nice. (Looks at Amber. They both nod.)

Amber: Nice. Yeah. I saw his penis. It was an accident. 

I’m sure it was. Cookie, you’re turning a little red. Are you okay? 

Cookie: Just fine. Thanks. 

Okay, well rumor has it that you are a huge Ubie fan. Have you developed feelings for him and if so when where does your relationship stand? Is he helping you hone your shooting skills.

Cookie: (Blushes harder.) Yes, Robert and I are becoming very good friends. 

Amber: I caught them making out on the couch. 

Cookie: We were talking, sweetheart. 

Amber: With is tongue down your throat? And then his hands were on your—

Amber! Um, Amber, you’ve been seen with a very handsome young man yourself lately. Is he your boyfriend? We’ve been told you are learning to sign as well. Is there any particular reason why you have decided to learn the language? 

Amber: (Squirms.) Yeah. Quentin. But we’re not like boyfriend and girlfriend. Just friends. For now. Mostly because mom says so. And I’m learning ASL so I can talk to him. Otherwise we have to text back and forth or write notes. Signing is a lot easier, but I don’t know it all yet. Quentin says I’m a fast learner though.

I’m sure you are. Thank you so much Cookie and Amber for stopping by and answering my questions.

Cookie: Thank you for having us.

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Stalk her!

Steampunk Sundays: Lady Jessica: Monster Hunter [Heart Of The Empire] by Keith Dumble

Series: Lady Jessica: Monster Hunter 1

Format: Mobi
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Publisher: McAlpin Press
Source: Author
Genre: Steampunk

In which we first encounter The Black Diamonds, and follow them into the treacherous confines of a Vampyre nest within the heart of London itself. An adventure which leaves them shaken, and in some instances, forever changed.

And my Steampunk Sundays is back with a brand new steampunk serial, LADY JESSICA: MONSTER HUNTER by Keith Dumble. The title says it all and on Season 1, the Black Diamond slays a coven of vampires a la Vampire Theater (Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice). Heart of the Empire has a good chunk of action to get me engaged, combining it with an adventurous introduction of characters and Keith Dumble gave me enough juice to read on to the next part, or Season, as he calls it. 

The Black Diamond consisting of three active members at this point, Lady Jessica, William Flint and Atsu Bara, have complementing characteristics to form and manipulate reader interests. Lady Jessica is the level-headed leader and tactician, Flint is the muscle and eye candy while Atsu is both the comedic relief and wild card of the trio. I like The Black Diamond trifecta, they each have something to offer and each one of them has a distinct voice and personality which is always a plus when reading fantasy that has multiple characters. You don’t want anybody to blend with the background.
Onto Lady Jessica McAlpin. I like what she represents, strong yet feminine, brave, cunning and has an eye for detail. She is proving to be quite a soldier and a great leader for her crew plus her combined martial and military skills makes her a badass when it comes to sword fighting and other types of combat. It’s too soon to tell but at this point, Lady Jessica feels flat to me. I don’t know if it’s because she was thrust into adventures right away upon introduction so we only get to see this side of her. And from the looks of it, she’s off to a new one with only a beat or two to spare in between. I’d like to meet the “Lady” in the next Season, the soft and alluring woman hiding underneath her petticoats, corsets and gadgets, something to balance off her warrior side and humanize her.

Overall, KDumble is on to something great with the series. I enjoy that he’s going via the classic route in terms of monsters. He also kept the action/adventure flowing which translates to an amazing pace. I’m not one for plot driven fantasy books but I’ll make an exception this time around. LADY JESSICA: MONSTER HUNTER may have a slow start for me but from the looks of it, the party’s just getting started and it’s only going to get better.

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #101 + Constantine

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


Big & Small

First it was Arrow, then Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Gotham soon to hit the small screen. Constantine is the latest comic book hero to join the slew of superheroes on prime time TV. Love the accent but I prefer a Keanu Reeves look-alike. 
The series stars Matt Ryan, Lucy Griffiths, Harold Perrineau and Charles Halford.

Last Week’s Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
win an ereader & ebooks
ends May 18

Alexa Egan (US/INT’L)
win a print copy of WARRIOR’S CURSE
ends May 20

Wicked Nights Giveaway Hop (US Only)
win Beautiful Bombshell & Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren
ends May 21

Paige Tyler (US/Canada)
win a print copy of HER PERFECT MATE
ends May 22

Juliana Stone (US/Canada)
win a print copy of BOYS LIKE YOU
ends May 25

Kristen Painter
win the House of Comarre series, House of the Rising Sun & swag
ends May 25

Macy Beckett (US)
win a print copy of MAKE YOU MINE
ends May 29

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.