Loved It: Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake + Fun Facts

Series: Baba Yaga 1

Format: ARC
Release Date: September 2, 2014 
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart

I had wicked good time reading Deborah Blake’s WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, the first book of her brand new UF series, Baba Yaga. It was fresh, funny, and very entertaining, I certainly took my time reading this one and I can’t wait to read more of Baba Yaga. Barbara Yager, one of three Baba Yaga’s, launches the series and it’ll be tough to top her book. 
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is fae influenced with missing children abducted into the Otherworld to keep fae company. One of the human parents summoned Barbara to help them find the kids and it took some time to peel the layers of deceit and wade through the distractions as Barbara’s nemesis was cunning and quite the actress. It was eventually resolved in the fae Court with the proper rewards and punishments rendered to the deserving parties. Of course there’s HEA too, it won’t be a fairy tale without it right? 
I love the plot and pace of WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, its character driven and the world building woven through Barbara’s reminiscing, interactions with other characters, and conflict and resolution. Also DBlake didn’t make things too complicated, she kept it light and familiar (the fae court was like Wonderland slash A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Now I am not well versed in the original lore about Baba Yaga so I can’t attest to the myth’s authenticity but I did enjoy DBlake’s version of it. Although Barbara can turn herself into a crone, she’s far from the surly, scary, and mischievous witch I expected her to be. 
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is romantically light, it was more of an insta-crush for Sheriff Liam McClellan and Barbara than anything. There was a lot of flirting between the two but as they were so intent in the case, they didn’t really make time for anything naughty. I actually like this better as it’s more believable IMO as opposed to the usual PNR where the world is falling, the heroes are semi-functional and yet they have the time and energy to squeeze a few quckies in. Liam and Barbara kept things PG and I found their flirting cute, Barbara lays it heavy when she wants to while Liam is kinda awkward in the dating department which I found endearing. 
Now I almost forgot to mention Chudo-Yudo, the dog who is sometimes a dragon. Adorable might not be applicable for this huge pitbull but I have no other words to describe him. I am loving this trend in books where pets are secondary characters too, here’s to hoping that the next Baba Yaga books will have endearing familiars too.
My beef lies in the conflict resolution, it felt too “happily ever after” for me, so convenient and tied nice and pretty. I find it a little inconsistent with the overall edgy tone and feel of WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, I was hoping for a Grimm Brothers ending than a Disney one. And though it’s expected that Barbara and Liam will be a couple, I was also hoping for a bit more, it felt like their HEA was fast tracked a few steps were skipped. 
Despite these small critiques, like I said I had a blast with WICKEDLY DANGEROUS. This brand new PNR series is promising and fascinating and I’m already excited for the next Baba Yaga adventure.
Top 5 Fun Facts about Baba Yaga


FUN FACT 1: Like the witches of other cultures, Baba Yaga’s preferred method of transportation is an implement commonly used for household labor, though unlike the witches of the West, who travel upon a broom, she chooses to ride in a mortar, steering it with a pestle, and using a broom to sweep away the tracks that she leaves.

(In WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, her mortar and pestle have been transformed into a classic BMW—much more practical for the 21st century.)


FUN FACT 2: Baba Yaga lives deep in the forest in a hut with a personality of its own. It can move around because it is up on giant chicken legs. If you come upon Baba Yaga‘s hut in the forest, you’ll likely just see the back side of it. If you try to walk to the front and aren’t paying attention – if you look away for just a second or blink – the chicken legs will have again turned the backside of the hut toward you. The hut does not reveal its door until it is told a magical phrase: “Turn your back to the forest, and your front to me.”

(Barbara’s hut now looks like an Airstream trailer, but it definitely has a personality, and sometimes makes the front door disappear, just for kicks.)


FUN FACT 3: Baba Yaga is sometimes shown as an antagonist, and sometimes as a source of guidance; there are stories in which she helps people with their quests, and stories in which she kidnaps children and threatens to eat them. Seeking out her aid is usually portrayed as a dangerous act. It is said she ages one year every time she is asked a question, which may explain her reluctance to help. This effect, however, can be reversed with a special blend of tea made with blue roses.

(Barbara doesn’t like to answer questions, but that’s mostly because she finds them annoying. Her coffeemaker magically infuses everything it makes—which isn’t always coffee, even if that’s what she wants to drink—with the essence of blue roses.)


FUN FACT 4: Baba Yaga rules over the elements. Her faithful servants are the White Horseman, the Red Horseman, and the Black Horseman. When she is asked who these mysterious horsemen are, she replies: “My Bright Dawn, my Red Sun, and my Dark Midnight.”

(You will meet the three riders in both the first and second Baba Yaga books. They won’t be what you expect. You might want to bring beer.)


FUN FACT 5: Baba Yaga has a fire-breathing dragon named Chudo-Yudo as her pet, who helps her to guard the Water of Life and Death.

(Chudo-Yudo isn’t exactly a pet, but he does guard the precious Water of Life and Death. The Chudo-Yudo in WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is disguised as a huge white pit bull. He hardly ever eats anyone these days…that we know of.)

Author of seven non-fiction books from Llewellyn. Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (2007), Everyday Witch A to Z (2008), The Goddess is in the Details (2009), Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) Witchcraft on a Shoestring (2010), Everyday Witch Book of Rituals, and The Witch’s Broom. I am also the author of the Baba Yaga series from Berkley Romance, including Wickedly Magical (novella), Wickedly Dangerous, and Wickedly Wonderful.

I live in a 120 year old farmhouse in upstate NY with five cats, and run an artists’ cooperative shop when I’m not writing.

Stalk Deborah
Website | Facebook | @deborahblake | Goodreads

Advertisements

Giveaway: Claudine by Barbara Palmer

I won’t be able to post my review til next month but I’ve read CLAUDINE by Barbara Palmer and I loved it! You know how much I love erotic suspense. For now, enjoy the excerpt and good luck on the giveaway!
Claudine
Barbara Palmer
Erotic Suspense
Berkley Books
September 2, 2014
Erotic Suspense
Don’t miss what Publishers Weekly calls a “splendid exploration of sensual performance” in this enticing debut erotic thriller…
Maria Lantos is a post grad Yale student researching illicit 18th-century literature. She’s become exceptionally well-versed in the narratives of classic erotic fantasy. She’s also Claudine, an in-demand escort specializing in sexual role play for an elite clientele.
Anonymous. Satisfying. And discreet.
Until the tenuous separation between her worlds starts to crack.
It begins with the murder of a stranger. Where it leads is to two men who will test Maria’s limits of control and awaken her own sexual desires. As her private nights bleed into day, Maria will discover the dangerous places that extend beyond the imagination, and secrets no longer consigned to the dark.

    
      Show World Live! bore little resemblance to the infamous Times Square district Show World club; the original naughty venue was long gone except for a tattered storefront on Eighth Avenue. In contrast, the new Show World Live! was aimed at upscale customers and boasted glitzy lounges with hourly strip shows. Booth babies danced naked amid blue and
pink bubbles in Plexiglas boxes. A tranny bar featured top-notch talent from the Bay area, and the porn cinema was made up to look like a grand old theater with plush upholstered seats and velvet curtains tied on either side of the screen. Claudine was booked to perform two vignettes at the coveted Saturday night show for ticket holders in the club’s famous Round Room, and after, a private performance for a select client. She’d decided on a straight old-time burlesque show for her first act, and Lillian worked wonders transforming her into a likeness of the famous burlesque queen Lili St. Cyr…….

     The lights dimmed. The performing area, a bare circle of blond hardwood, was illuminated by a spotlight that left the booths in shadow. A pink divan at center stage sat beside a table holding a fan of luxurious black ostrich feathers and an oversized perfume bottle, the old- fashioned kind with a rubber squeeze top. The master of ceremonies, a short sprite of a man dressed in tails and a white shirt, strode to center stage carrying a gold-topped cane.

     “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, from the white lights of Manhattan, for one night only, the exquisite, the infamous, Claudine.”

     For an instant, her stomach pitched in fear. Would her stalker be out there, watching from one of the booths? Would he be bold enough to hurt her in front of everyone, thinking to catch her off guard with a public attack? Andrei was stationed to one side of the entrance with a full view of the booths. As long as he was here she was safe. She calmed herself with that thought and the thrill that always came before a performance began to beat through her veins.

     The white-blue beam of the spot swept to the performer’s entrance. She heard the first notes of the music and stepped into the circle of dazzling light. Her platinum hair, styled in an updo, was cinched with a wide ribbon of black chiffon to match the flowing semitransparent fabric of her floor-length dress. It glowed under the lights. She wore arm-length kid leather gloves that fit like a second skin and flashy high heels.

      Parading to the music, she shimmied, pivoted, struck various cheesecake poses. She gave her audience a sinful smile, winked, and thrust out her boobs in full burlesque mode, running her hands tantalizingly over her cleavage. Turning her back to the viewers, she wiggled her ass and unhooked the skirt of her gown, tossing it aside.

     The pleasure and playfulness of the dance gave her extra zing and for a moment she felt as though she could vanquish her unseen enemy by the sheer force of her sensuality. Only the long tail of chiffon and a tiny thong covered the crease of her bottom. She stepped saucily back into the spotlight, unhitched the tail and bent over so that her buttocks were on full display……..She kicked off her high heels, unfastened her stockings from her garters and rolled them down, slowly exposing toned thighs and shapely calves. She picked up the fan from the pink divan and, holding it in front of her with one hand, undid the eyelets of the bustier at her back with the other. She tossed the bustier to the floor, and squeezing her naked breasts together, dipped the fan down, revealing generous nipples glittering with rhinestone pasties.

      The audience went crazy…….. Then, to the delight of the customers, she fanned herself as if she were too overheated to continue. She pranced around a little longer, making sure that each booth occupant got a good look at her full tits and her round tush in the tiny black thong. She returned once more to center stage, where she reclined languorously on the divan, giving herself a spray with the perfume. Every move had a comic edge but she knew the men in the audience weren’t laughing. She felt their breath halt, their eyes on her—and savored every moment of it.

The author is a bestselling, international award-winning Canadian novelist whose work has been published in twenty countries. She’s writing under the pen name Barbara Palmer, inspired by the famous 17th century English courtesan and royal mistress.

Stalk Barbara
Website@barpalmer | Facebook | Goodreads

Suped Up: Black Lies by Alessandra Torre + Giveaway

Series: Stand-alone

Format: Mobi
Release Date: August 25, 2014
Source: Author
Genre: Dark Erotica

BLURB:

Brant: Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years. Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee: Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

I love 2 men.
I want 2 men.
If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t

FAVORITE QUOTES:

I want to be more like her. I want to listen to her laugh and have had something to do with it. I love her completely. She returns the love wildly. this love is worth the unsaid truths. The hidden lies. – Brant Sharp

The taste of his [Lee] skin one of sweat and salt, heat and man. Dirt and want. A far cry from the cologne and dignity of which I was accustomed. Layana

When you really love someone you cannot walk away. No matter what they do. No matter the lies from their mouth, or the action form their bodies, you ties yourself tightly to their sail and vocw to be there through thick and think. Let the wind blow you where it may. Eveni f that place is a crash. Even if that place tears you apart and kills anything good. -Brant

Yes, you have NOT heard or read of this story before… maybe… but before you jump into any conclusions and decide to skip this because of the blurb and hints of cheating, let me assure you that there is NO cheating in BLACK LIES. It’s a little spoilery for me to say that but I know some of you won’t read any book that sensationalize or even justifies cheating so I’m telling you now that Layana Fairmont is no cheating whore. The story IS quite complicated and it’s the riddle/mystery that is Brant and Lee that will have you turning the pages and devouring BLACK LIES in a day because that’s what happened to me. 
This is a love story, but not one that is easy to read.
One thing that about Alessandra Torre’s books is its darkness. She gives you these dysfunctional romances that will shove you out of your comfy and padded HEA-shaped love stories and instead gives you darker versions of what it’s like to fall in love with a very imperfect person. BLACK LIES had me asking myself so many times What would I do if I find myself in Layana Fairmont’s position, madly in love with a man like Brant Sharp?. Because in a nutshell, BLACK LIES is a demonstration of what a woman would do for the man she loves and let me tell you, Layana crossed boundaries and removed multiple lines. It’s quite romantic really but the thoughtfulness and passion of it all won’t hit you until you’re close to the end. 
So what is BLACK LIES is it’s not a story about cheating? And what the fluck is up with Brant and Lee? 
I can’t answer the second question because it’ll spoil the hook of the story. BLACK LIES outside the romance is a well concocted mystery. You have a bored heiress, itching to break free from the dictates of her parents and society who happens to fall in love with a genius, self-made, billionaire technocrat. The first bait is Brant’s family has counseled, and even tried to buy off Layana, to stay away from him. You’d think it’s some rich folk intrigue where they’re protecting their money from gold diggers. But as the story goes on, we get hints that it’s not about the money rather there’s something about Brant that’s dark and possibly evil and pulling them apart is for Layana’s safety. 
But like a moth to a flame, Layana is in deep and very much in love with Brant and all the nay saying is fueling that passion to greater heights. She developed a kind of love that is scary because it’s insatiable, consuming, and so encompassing that Layana lost herself in it. At some point it felt like a game of chess because in some ways it is, to be involved with a man like Brant Sharp one has to be cunning, calculating, and willing to sacrifice or risk it all. 
As for Lee. He is the wild card and he will surprise you in more ways than one. He is the opposite of the sleek, charming, and magnetic Brant. Lee is rough, possessive, and fire. But again, before you make any judgment calls, it’s NOT what you think. You’ll just HAVE to read BLACK LIES and figure it out for yourself. 

Alessandra Torre is an exciting new author who astonished the publishing world with the success of her first novel, Blindfolded Innocence. Initially self-published, the intriguing romance and erotica title quickly rose to the top of the charts on Kindle and Amazon and attracted the interest of major publishing houses. Currently available on Kindle, iBookstore and Nook, Blindfolded Innocence will be available in print in 30 different countries through Harlequin Publishing in June 2013.
Torre’s captivating story about a young intern’s sexual awakening has won praise and rave reviews from numerous critics, bloggers and book reviewers, including the acclaimed Dr. Laura Berman. In her recent article “35 to Read After 50″ in Everyday Health, Dr. Berman recommended Blindfolded as a must-read for book enthusiasts searching for a new fix after Fifty Shades of Grey. The book has also received high marks from readers on Goodreads and other literary web sites where fans frequently remark they can’t wait for a Blindfolded sequel!
Momentarily stunned by the book’s rapid success and loyal following, Torre is currently at work on a thriller that will be released in the next two months as well as a sequel to Blindfolded. From her home near the tranquil warm waters of the Emerald Coast in Florida, she devotes several hours each day to various writing projects and interacting with her fans on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Happily married to her “best friend” and with one son, she loves watching SEC football games, horseback riding, reading and watching movies. 
Follow Alessandra

Loved It: Dangerous Calling by AJ Larrieu + Giveaway & Character Chat

Series: The Shadowminds

Format: ebook
Release Date: August 18, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Author
Genre: Urban Fantasy

After years of denial, Cass Weatherfield has finally accepted her telekinetic gifts. Living with her boyfriend, Shane, has given her the confidence to be herself, but the fear of losing control and harming those around her is always present.

Knowing firsthand the hell of growing up without a mentor, she agrees to meet and help Diana, a young Shadowmind. But when Cass shows up, the terrified woman changes her mind and flees. Cass and Shane track her across New Orleans, and soon discover that Diana is being held against her will by an illicit organization that’s selling her rare clairvoyant skills to the highest bidder. In charge is an ancient creature more powerful than any they’ve ever encountered. And apparently she wants Shane dead.

Cass and Shane work to free Diana. But as Cass uses more and more power, drawing it from her friends in the fight against evil, she feels an addictive pull that challenges her control. And, in the end, Cass may be the greatest threat to those she loves the most.

An angel, a sybil, a vampire, and a pair of telekinetics walk into a B&B and it was mayhem. Beautiful, heart pounding, flucking, bloody MAYHEM! Oh AJ Larrieu, you really stepped it up in DANGEROUS CALLING, you MUST write faster so you can give us the next one ASAP!
There are so many great things to be found in this series, unassuming but powerful heroes, endearing secondary characters, evil bad guys, and some sexy time thrown in between. Plus it’s set in Louisiana, the hub of otherworldlies so multiple wins go to The Shadowminds. Also I admire an author who doesn’t hesitate throwing their heroes like tinder to a bonfire and killing off beloved characters. DANGEROUS CALLING is just book two people, I shiver at the thought of what Larrieu will do next to Cass and Co. in the coming novels. So many terrifying and exciting possibilities *rubs hands together in glee*. 
The first one, Twisted Miracles, was more of an introduction, showcasing what Cass Weatherfield can do and is capable of but no main thread was built. DANGEROUS CALLING is the start of a series arc IMO, and it’s off to a bloody beginning. Cass and Shane are helping a sybil, a seer named Diana, who foresaw some pretty important and interesting things concerning Cass and Shane’s future but her master, Annette, a vampire, compelled Diana not to share it with them. Diana running away from Annette’s clutches set in motion a high adrenalin chase and nobody will stop at anything not until either Cass and Shane or Annette is destroyed.
I never expected a vampire to be a villain but in hindsight Annette is the perfect antagonist here. What creature can best a telekinetic, even a powerful one like Cass, than an ancient vampire? A bloodsucker who can sift through one’s mind and compel them to do things. Cass and Shane battled one formidable foe in Annette which almost cost them their lives. I love the pace of DANGEROUS CALLING, it was *snap snap snap*, once the ball started rolling it just kept going exponentially, I felt the urgency of the situation, Cass and Shane’s exhaustion from the chase, and the fear of failing to kill Annette and its outcome. The vamp might not have succeeded but she left a tremendous death toll and damage in her wake. 
I love Larrieu’s style, doling out bits and pieces of The Shadowminds myth slowly. No info dump but more of a need to know basis. Her world isn’t created in 7 days, or in one book in this case, so her universe is expanding slowly and I am loving each peeled layer. There is an Angel angle in this series, not much has been revealed but as I mentioned earlier, DANGEROUS CALLING set things in motion and it’s headed to the heart of who and what The Shadowminds is. I can’t wait to know more!


Thanks so much to Braine for having me [A.J. Larrieu] today! I’m thrilled to be hanging out on Talk Supe and sharing a little more about some of my favorite characters from my dark, sexy urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds. The second book in the series, DANGEROUS CALLING, came out last week, and since then I’ve been talking a lot about my tough female protagonist, Cass Weatherfield, and how she’s grown and changed since Book One (TWISTED MIRACLES). Today, I thought it would be fun to let two of my other favorite characters speak for themselves. Here’s Susannah, the Guardian of Biloxi, interviewing Shane, the hero of the series.

SUSANNAH: Relax. I just need to ask you a few questions.


SHANE: What is this about? Why am I tied to this chair?

SUSANNAH: As if you’d stay put if you weren’t being forced to. Calm down. If I’d wanted to kill you, you’d be dead already.

SHANE: Is that supposed to be reassuring?

SUSANNAH: I’m interviewing you, not the other way around. (takes out a bright teal notecard.) First question. How do you feel about monogamy?

SHANE, after a pause: That’s a pretty personal question.

SUSANNAH: So you’re a playboy. (under her breath) Should’ve known, any man who looks like you…

SHANE: *glaring* That is not what I said. (under his breath) Crazy winged freak.

SUSANNAH: *raising an eyebrow* So you are in favor of monogamy.

SHANE: Listen, I don’t know what you’re getting at here, but I’m a one-woman kind of guy, and I found the woman a long time ago.

SUSANNAH: Are you in love with her?

SHANE: That is really none of your business.

SUSANNAH: (waits, flaring her wings)

SHANE: I’d die for her.

SUSANNAH: Good to know. Next question. How many people have you killed?

SHANE: How many—how many—excuse me?

SUSANNAH: A dozen? Half a dozen?

SHANE: What? Look, I’m a part-time mechanic with a family bed & breakfast to help run. I don’t go around getting into gun fights. 

SUSANNAH: But you just said you die for the woman you love. Surely that means you would also kill for her.

SHANE: If it came to that, yes. I would.

SUSANNAH: Do you like to travel?

SHANE: That’s your next question. Do I like to travel. You ask me about my sex life and whether I’ve committed murder, and now you want to know if I like to travel.

SUSANNAH: *confused* It’s a reasonable question.

SHANE: Yeah, that’s what concerns me. 

SUSANNAH: Well, do you?

SHANE: *shrugging* I love New Orleans, and I love my family. I’m a lucky man. I’ve never wanted to see the world—I want a quiet life.

SUSANNAH: *sadly* We don’t always get what we want.

SHANE: *looking toward the door* Sometimes we do.

SUSANNAH: *shaking her head* You’ll find out what I mean when you’re ready.

SHANE: Hey, what’s that supposed to mean? 

SUSANNAH: *walking to the door* You can show yourself out, right?

SHANE: *holding up cuffed hands* Hang on—what about these?

SUSANNAH: *as she closes the door* You’re telekinetic. Work it out.

SHANE: *shaking head* Thank God New Orleans doesn’t have a guardian. (cuffs fall off and hit the concrete floor) Batshit crazy, every one of them. 



If you want to find out more about Shane, Susannah and the rest of The Shadowminds crew, you can read more about TWISTED MIRACLES (Book One) or DANGEROUS CALLING (Book Two) on A.J.’s website.

A.J. Larrieu grew up in small-town Louisiana, where she spent her summers working in her family’s bakery, exploring the swamps around her home and reading science fiction and fantasy novels under the covers. She attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in biochemistry and wrote bad poetry on the side. Despite pursuing a Ph.D. in biology, she couldn’t kick the writing habit, and by the time she graduated, she had an addiction to writing sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Her first book, Twisted Miracles, was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart® competition in 2012. The book kicks off her dark, romantic urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds, which follows a group of humans with unusual powers through New Orleans’ supernatural underworld. A.J. is currently a working biophysicist in San Francisco, where she lives with her family and too many books.

Stalk AJ

Loved It: No In Between by Lisa Renee Jones

Series: Inside Out 4

Format: ARC
Release Date: August 19, 2014 
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Erotic Suspense

BLURB:

The fourth in the Inside Out erotic romance series by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, this steamy novel resolves Chris and Sarah’s relationship and leads into Mark’s story.

“Chris and I have faced our demons and bared our souls to one another in Paris. Now that we are back home in San Francisco, I want to believe that nothing can tear us apart. Not Ava’s accusations against me to the police, or Chris’s fear that he will destroy me as he feels he did Amber. And not Mark, who was once too intimately a part of our lives, and who I can see crumbling inside out. He believes he is invincible, just as I want to believe Chris and I are invincible. We have to be invincible. We need each other too much for any other ending.”

FAVORITE QUOTES:

I know how powerful pain is. It can drive you insane and it can make you do things you never thought you were capable of doing. Never, ever, underestimate it. Never, Sara. – Chris

If you run, Chris, run fast, because I’ll come after you. That’s just the kind of bitch I am. – Sara

If you haven’t read Lisa Renee Jones’ INSIDE OUT series then you are seriously missing out on something fierce! It’s a great blend of sexy, suspense, and kink I’m not surprised that Starz is developing the series for TV. 
Anyway, the series originally was supposed to be just a trilogy but due to its success, it has expanded to a LOT of books and novellas in between. The reason being the characters are rich in personality and secrets that they are begging for their story to be told and LRJones was kind enough to tell them. I’m happy of course, we all want our favorite series to keep on going right?
NO IN BETWEEN is Sara and Chris’ journey to their much anticipated HEA aka wedding but their upcoming nuptials is shadowed by Mark Compton’s personal troubles and Rebecca’s disappearance which spurned a big media and legal circus involving a lot of people. I’m still unsure if Rebecca is dead, it’s easy to presume that she is, but all the crazy talk that’s been happening and no body to prove otherwise, I’m one of those readers who are hopeful that Rebecca isn’t dead and is hiding somewhere. Whatever the case may be, Sara chancing upon her journal obviously is a big catalyst in the story and as we know more, the big picture now looks like this big sticky and dangerous spiderweb. The upside is, Sara has Chris to help her untangle the mess and hopefully the mystery behind Rebecca will finally be solved and the conundrum laid to rest. 
Now Sara and Chris has come a long way. They are finally stronger than their demons and it just keeps on getting better as Chris slowly bares himself to Sara and she in turn tend to his insecurities, accepts and forgives his secrets, and pays him with love… and lots and lots of sex! Ha!
Bedtime play aside, I love the layers of this series, the character development is fantastic and the suspense is well played. LRJones knows how to keep her readers guessing and captivated by Rebecca’s disappearance. There’s no clear trail, the clues are strewn everywhere and right now, anything can happen. I no longer know what is what, I’m just bracing myself for the final outcome.
NO IN BETWEEN is another great installment, I’m not usually a fan of long drawn mysteries but I sure didn’t mind it this time around. Give Inside Out a try, it’s more than erotica. 
The Novellas

Steampunk Sundays: Evernight by Kristen Callihan

Series: Darkest London 5

Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Romance | Steampunk | Paranormal

Once the night comes . . .

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can’t control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows . . .

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she’s the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.

First of all I feel like a schmuck because a few of my Goodreads buddies enjoyed EVERNIGHT more than I did. A little disclaimer before I proceed with the specifics: I love where the series itself, Darkest London, is going; I love its evolution and all the different kinds of otherworldly creatures are being added into the mix; I love that the romantic flavor in all the books remain consistent and it’s always habanero hawt! I’ve always preached that if you love romance and/or paranormal and would like to try Steampunk, you should let Kristen Callihan pop your cherry because she’ll ease you in to the fantastical world of Steampunk in a slow, steady, sure, and sexy manner. 
So why give EVERNIGHT only three cauldrons? 
First off, the romance is solid, I love the banter and intense romantic tension between Holly Evernight and William Thorne. Both are strong and independent characters that are fine as individuals but are made better by each other. Will is your typical fantasy Alpha male, protective of his woman, always enamored by her but a little hesitant to open his heart. Now Holly is the ultimate heroine, she’s beauty, brains, and brawn! A female Victorian version of Magneto. There was this scene where she fought with a raptor in the ring and she took that nasty female DOWN! Like Will, I underestimated Holly, she seemed to be the soft woman incapable of defending herself. Obviously I made an ass of myself for thinking this, she might be good with gadgets and machines but she is still an agent of the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, or SOS, and all agents are trained in combat. 
In Shadowdance, Will and Holly were the side story and when Darkest London 4 concluded, Will has murder on his mind thinking Holly was the bad guy’s pet and purposely turned him even more beastly thanks to his clockwork heart, which by the way might turn him into C3PO’s buddy and kill him eventually. So I was looking forward to the enemies-lovers trope a la Mr. and Mrs. Smith but the misunderstanding was resolved almost immediately. The heart of the conflict didn’t really involve either of them directly, they were more like pawns in a magical power play. On a side note, I’m looking forward to the next book, Soulbound (February 2015) should be another interesting volume.
EVERNIGHT might not be my favorite as it felt like a filler book of sorts to me (not everyone else) in terms of an overarching series plot (because it looks like there’s some big trouble brewing). It’s still a great addition to the series and still worth reading for the romance alone. 

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #115 + AHS Freak Show

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. 

I am looking for a little helping hand so if you or a friend is interested, you may find more info here.

Bagged
from publishers, authors and tour organizers

Boys Like You by Juliana Stone | Surrender by June Gray
Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=talsup08-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00MQAU5DO&asins=B00MQAU5DO&linkId=3SXJT6O6LMWL775F&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=talsup08-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00KK0PJLK&asins=B00KK0PJLK&linkId=PTASXDO3UQ6TGYLT&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true


Big & Small

I love freak shows! I’m my own freak show sometimes so AMERICAN HORROR STORY is getting a lot of love from me!

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW premiers on October 8 at FX, check your local listings for the schedule. Returning stars include Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Gabourey Sidibe, Emma Roberts and Evan Peters. Newcomers include Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock and Patti LaBelle. Sad that Taisa Farmiga isn’t on the list, hopefully we’ll get her back next year.

Last Week’s Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
win a stack of books from The Writer’s Coffee Shop
ends Sept. 6
Books, GC’s, swag, & more!
ends Sept. 11
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.

document.write(”);

HELP WANTED! Reviewers Needed!

The moment has finally arrived where I have to ask for HELP! And I’d really appreciate it if you could lend a hand. 

Long-time bloggers, you well know the demands and pressure to keep a blog healthy and updated and the number of hours it requires to keep it relevant and afloat not to mention the hours upon hours of reading that goes with it. 
That said, I felt it’s time I share the pleasures of blogging with someone, or a couple, and give Talk Supe a fresh voice and perspective. I won’t go wax poetic and get to the point. Below are my expectations: 
  • I understand the demands of real life so I need someone who can review a book at least ONCE A WEEK
  • I prefer someone who reads CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, be it YA, NA, or Adult including erotica, because I love fantasy so much it’s my priority. 
  • It’s okay if you have your own blog, consider this a side-line or a recurring guest appearance or something like that. 
  • I value comments, they are a blogger’s soul food, so it’s IMPERATIVE that you take the time to respond to comments left on your respective posts. 
  • That said, I also value hospitality and encourage you to visit your favorite blogs, or the blogs of your commenters, and return the favor by commenting back on their posts, etc. It’s not rocket science, the blogosphere is a tit-for-tat kind of world, you get what you give and comment karma is almost always instantaneous 😉
So HERE‘s the sign-up form and I THANK YOU in advance for your interest. As for my fellow bloggers and followers, I’ll offer a blood sacrifice in your name to the book gods to show my appreciate in helping me spread the word. There’s that handy Shareaholic buttons at the bottom of this page for easy sharing, thank you! Thank You! THANK YOU for sharing!

Loved It: Guarded by Mary Behre

Series: Tidewater 2

Format: ARC
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance

BLURB:

She’s given up on finding love…

Veterinarian Shelley Morgan has always preferred animals to humans, and not simply because she can communicate with them psychically. Unlike most people she’s known, animals have never broken her heart. But after six months in her new town, some of her favorite four-legged companions begin disappearing from the local zoo. Determined to track down the animals and their thief, the telepathic vet decides to investigate, unknowingly delving into a deadly mystery…

He’s ready to make her heart go wild…

Although his bear-like physique has been an advantage in the Tidewater Police Department, Dev Jones’s size often intimidates people. Only Shelley has seen past his massive build to the intelligent man inside, but that was years ago. So when she contacts him requesting his help to solve a series of animal kidnappings, he’s eager to reconnect with her. But the thefts escalate to murder and all the evidence points to Shelley as the killer, and Dev faces a devastating choice: forsake his career or risk losing the woman he’s grown to love.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Ever notice, disasters always seem to strike on the prettiest days? Like Mother Nature is laughing at you?”-Shelly

I always get nervous over sequels especially when I loved the first book. I’ve had my share of sophomore slump and I was a bit skeptical over GUARDED because the heroine, Shelly Morgan, can talk to animals. *head scratch* 
I mean a pet whisperer? I don’t know how animal telepathy fits in the scheme of things. From a medium to an animal telepath?! *head scratch*
Obviously all my worries were for naught because I enjoyed GUARDED a lot. It’s like The Animal Planet and ID-TV decided to co-produce a movie together, like a dark and deadly version of Dr. Doolittle. The gist is exotic and wild animals are slowly disappearing from the local zoo and Shelly Morgan, the town’s veterinarian, thinks there’s something sinister going on in the background. She sought the help of an old college buddy and current Tidewater detective, Dev Jones, to help her investigate. Soon enough bodies started dropping and Shelly is being framed for murder. 
I’ll start with the romance. Shelly and Dev’s is one of rekindling as they’ve known each other for a while and always had a crush on each other. This time around the stars aligned which made it possible for them to reconnect in more ways than one. *wink wink* I like Shelly enough, she’s a little awkward, clumsy, and her ability gives her a quirky air. I like Dev too, he didn’t go hardcore Alpha but demonstrated an appropriate degree of possessiveness and protectiveness towards Shelly to reinforce his attraction to her. The heat level in GUARDED is a few notches lower than Spirited, it’s still there but not as pressing as with the first book. 
The whodunit was greatly written and made up for the minimal steam. I love it when the authors lets us in the villain’s mind, giving them their own chapters so we get a clear sense of how dangerous they are and what motivates them. Until the identity of the killer/robber/animal-napper was revealed, I never had a clue of who was behind the theft and murders. The secondary characters were wonderful additions too, they added a lot of flavor to an otherwise small-town mystery and I got invested in them, especially the kid Beau, as much as I did for Shelly and Dev. 
For me the hook of GUARDED lies on Shelly’s reunion with her sister Jules. They’ve been separated when they were teens after their parents died and they went to foster care. Since then, Jules have been searching for her sisters, Shelly and Hannah, so their reunion was much anticipated on my part. I love how understated it was, how it wasn’t this big drama-fest filled with tears and snot. It was heartfelt but very grown up and I can’t wait til all three sisters are united and see what comes after that.

DNF: Zomburbia by Adam J. Gallardo

Series: Stand-alone (?)

Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: K-Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA-Fantasy

“Welcome To Zomburbia.”

My name is Courtney Hart, and I’m here to tell you about things that suck. Being born in a podunk town like Salem, Oregon, for one. Living in a world infested with zombies? That, too. And the meat heads I go to school with? I think I’d actually take the undead over them most days. But I have a plan to get out of here and move to New York. I just have to keep selling Vitamin Z along with your fries at The Bully Burger. The secret ingredient? Zombie brains.

I’ve noticed things are getting even worse lately, if that’s even possible. The zombies seem to be getting smarter and faster. If I can avoid being arrested, eaten by shufflers, or catching the eye of some stupid boy, I should be able to make it through finals week still breathing…

Just a disclaimer, I DISLIKE tagging and writing DNF posts for obvious reasons but there are instances where I feel compelled to explain why I’m rating the book as such. And this is how I feel regarding Adam J. Gallardo’s ZOMBURBIA
First of all, ZOMBURBIA is my first ever zombie book. After watching The Walking Dead and enjoying the blood, gore, and decay of these undead, I felt like I’m finally ready to read books about them. Alas things didn’t pan out that way here. I stopped at 40% and continued to skim until the end for the sake of closure. 
It’s not all bad though, I love the idea behind ZOMBURBIA. The zombie apocalypse happened a long time ago, it was bad but people managed to survive, adapt, and rebuild. There are still walkers loitering around and the world is still not a safe place but the uninfected, like Courtney Hart, placed systems to keep them out and the remaining healthy populace safe. I imagined things to be similar to Warm Bodies minus the humor and likable characters. Another interesting twist is the healthy people found a new drug in zombie brains and Courtney is a dealer, selling this disgusting drug on the d/l so she can save enough money to move out, live in a different city, and go to college to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor and finding a cure for the disease.
What didn’t work for me is Courtney Hart herself. As the story is told in her POV and she’s basically driving the story, it was difficult to be objective and focus on the plot per se. Here’s why Courtney and I didn’t get along: SHE ANNOYED THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF ME. At first I was loving Courtney’s sarcasm, snark is my favorite characteristic in a heroine and Courtney has an abundance of that. But as the story kept moving along, she quickly crossed the line from cute to bratty, condescending, and ungrateful. Even her friends are complaining about her attitude and how she takes them for granted and makes them feel like they’re beneath her. 
One thing you should know about Courtney is she’s not one of the popular kids, she’s one of the “outcasts” and takes pride in being one. Until she caught the eye of one of the jocks, Brandon Ikaros, then things turned for the worst for her friends. Slowly but surely, Courtney was sucked in to the clique she allegedly despises, blowing off her friends so she can hang with Brandon, lying to them about things, etc. What grated on my nerves even more is after committing offenses that betrayed their friendship, and Coutney’s clearly in the wrong, she refused to apologize which annoyed me even more. I mean I’ve met a LOT of snarky heroines but their redeeming quality lie in that they are kindhearted and are wise enough to know what matters and what doesn’t. Courtney didn’t demonstrate any redeeming qualities in the first half of the book, the redemption happened after she lost her friends because of her selfishness. 
Of course I’m just one reader so DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! I’m sure your experience will be different from mine and you’ll probably end up loving ZOMBURBIA. So please, read it and let me know what you think.