Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #136 + iZombie

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. 

Bagged

from publishers & authors

Big & Small

Rose McIver stars as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a rosy-cheeked, disciplined, over-achieving medical resident who had her life path completely mapped out… until the night she attended a party that unexpectedly turned into a zombie feeding frenzy. As one of the newly undead, Liv has devised a way to resist her baser urges to devour fresh human brains – she’s taken a job in the Seattle coroner’s office. In this appropriately dead-end job, she can secretly snack on the brains of the many Jane and John Doe corpses that make a final stop in the morgue. Liv remains resigned to an eternity without hope or purpose, until she realizes that with every brain she consumes, she retains a portion of that person’s memories, and she begins to experience visions from the point of view of the murder victims. It’s not the same as being alive again, but at least she can find purpose in her undead existence by helping to solve the murders of those who are indeed fully dead. 


“iZombie” also stars Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley and David Anders. Based upon characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. “iZombie” will premiere on March 17 and the series will air Tuesdays at 9 P.M. EST.

Color me curious! Love the concept, will definitely be on the lookout for this!

Last Week’s Reviews

It’s a new year and there’s a new linky for my humble weekly recap meme. Whether you’re a return participant or a new hopper, THANK YOU for joining, your participation is much appreciated. 
Also as this is a laid-back meme, please use your LABEL OR TAG LINKS and not your post links that way you don’t have to update your linky every week. 

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Motivate Me: Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power by Bob Doyle

MOTIVATE ME is a new, and sporadic, feature here in Talk Supe, and something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. 
So what is this about? MOTIVATE ME is inspired by my life’s journey. I don’t want to get all sappy and personal, the short of it is I started this change in my life a few years back and it’s been a long, arduous, and sometimes rewarding journey so far. I’m not at the finish line yet and just like when you run for a marathon, it’s all about endurance and perseverance. I have to admit, I’ve been tempted so many times to just throw in the towel and give up, but looking back I’ve come a long way and now’s not the time to quit. 
So aside from my faith, I turn once in a while to self-help books. Just to give me a little boost of inspiration and at times a dash of courage to continue and maintain my eye on the prize. MOTIVATE ME is really a personal post, something that’s more for me, a sort of catharsis if you must and I know YOU, my beloved Supies, aren’t the target audience for this so I’d totally understand if you ignore me, that’s okay. At the same time, thanks for giving me a hall pass, you have no idea how much this is needed!

Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power: Everything You Need to Know about the Law of Attraction by Bob Doyle

Format: Audiobook
Narrated by: James James
Length: 4 hours, 50 mins
Release Date: March 8, 2012
Publisher: Audible Studios
Purchase: Audible

Remember The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? Well I’m one of those people who lapped it up and did my best to imbibe its teachings. See I’m a pessimist by nature, I’m the type who always hope for the best but braces for the worst and though this attitude has its merits, more often than not I come across as a downer. And that sucks when you’re around joyful and hopeful people. Now for some changing this might be easy but for me, it was a hard habit to break because thinking the worst case scenario is almost like second nature to me so I decided to seek help and change this part of my life. 
Bob Doyle was one of the featured speakers in The Secret and one of my favorite motivational speaker. You might say that some of the things he’s “preaching” is common sense, and I couldn’t agree with you more! However when you’re down on your luck and swimming in a cesspool of disappointment, common sense stops becoming so common and sometimes one needs a reminder to get things in perspective. 
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The Law of Attraction is the main focus in Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power and though we’ve heard a lot of things about this [not so] new age idea, BDoyle took it further and deeper. I especially liked how he addressed the naysayers and shared his two cents regarding attracting negative things. My favorite part are the release exercises, he shared techniques on how to let go of negative thoughts and feelings followed by steps how to stay positive. My favorite and the one I’ve been doing since is the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT routine (you may find tutorials on youtube).
NARRATION: I do prefer non-fiction over fiction audio books. The way I process motivational books is the same way I’d listen to a lecture or a sermon, I find myself paying attention more and absorbing what’s being said. I guess it’s the conviction of the speaker that does it for me. It took me a bit to get into James James’ narration, it felt like he was reading off a textbook at first but eventually warmed up. Personally I hope it was Mr. Doyle himself who read the book to us. 
MOTIVATING?: Absolutely! Again I know some of the things he said are common sense but for a pessimist and overthinker like myself, this is a much needed lecture. I’ve relistened to a few chapters since finishing Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Loved It: Keep Me Safe & In His Keeping by Maya Banks + Series Giveaway

 
Slow Burn 1 & 2
Maya Banks
10.7.14 | 1.27.15
William Morrow Paperbacks
Romantic Suspense | Psych-Thriller
KEEP ME SAFE: I love a good thriller especially if it involves serial killers with a para-psych twist. Slow Burn 1 started real good and the whole plot of the book is amazing. An empath, Ramie, is telephatically connected to this serial killer who’s hunting her. Enter Caleb Devereuax, the kinght in shining armor whose sister, Tori, Ramie saved from his abductor.

I wanted a good cat and mouse chase but I didn’t get enough facetime with the killer to make the threat more invasive. Also a few parts in the climax and resolution were glossed over so it dulled the impact of finally catching the bad guy for me. Lastly I did not like the romance here at all. It felt a lot like insta-love and was brought up prematurely in the story.

IN HIS KEEPING: Big improvement from the first one. There’s still some insta-love but since this has paranormal elements, I’ll give it a pass plus Maya Banks drew the romance out a little bit, giving this a slow burn feel. The plot is really good, it has a foreboding start so the anticipation is high from the beginning. The action is solid, I do love a good chase and MBanks dealt it in spades. The conflict is great too, a science experiment gone wrong and deadly and the resolution was well executed. What I loved most about IN HIS KEEPING is the family dynamic between the Deveroux brothers and Ari’s family. Ari’s dad, Gerald, is my favorite character, he’s the most compelling and his love for his daughter Ari and his wife, Ginger, is very touching. 

SLOW BURN: I didn’t like MBanks’ Surrender trilogy so I was careful not to expect too much when I started this series. I thought the books were romantic suspense so I was delighted to discover that this was a para-psychological thriller featuring telekinetics, empaths, and the like. Now even if I like this series enough, MBanks’ brand of romance isn’t exactly my cup of tea, she likes insta-love and you know that’s my book pet peeve. Still I can tolerate the love stories because in fairness, the smex is hot and the other aspects of the series are so good, love at first sight is a small price to pay for an action-suspense packed series. Plus these are quick reads too and KEEP ME SAFE and IN HIS KEEPING has a great balance of contemporary romance and paranormal elements so it’s one of those genre crossing series we all love.

My name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets. I’m more of a cat person, but my daughter became convinced she NEEDED a dog. So convinced in fact that it became her mission to convince her father and me. She prepared a two page handwritten proposal that detailed WHY she needed a dog, and well, after I sent her to her father (I knew he wouldn’t tell her no) we embarked on the search for the perfect dog. The journey that was two hours away and that I got pulled over for speeding while I was on the phone with my agent who had an offer from a publisher for one of my books… The officer wasn’t impressed. He wrote me a ticket anyway. Thus, I now tell my daughter that her dog turned into one very expensive concession! But isn’t he cute?

When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoorsMaya’s Dog and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. One of our more recent trips was to Scotland, which was every bit as comical as National Lampoon’s European Vacation. You know the part about “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they went round and round the roundabouts? Yeah, that was us, only we couldn’t even get out of the airport in Glasgow without hitting three of those suckers.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a writing career is getting to meet so many wonderful readers. There’s nothing better than dishing books with someone who loves the romance genre as much as I do. Romance readers are passionate and vocal. We love our books, love our happily ever afters, and we love to spend time talking to others about our favorites. THIS is why I love my job so much, and I’m so grateful to readers who gave ME a chance when I began my career. So thank you.

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Quick Hits: How to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie Harte & A Single Kiss by Grace Burrowes


How To Handle A Heartbreaker | The McCauley Brothers 2 | Marie Harte
Contemporary Romance | August 5, 2014 | Sourcebooks Casablanca
Bloggy Friend Reviews: Guilty Pleasures & Christy’s Love of Books

HOW TO HANDLE A HEARTBREAKER was recommended to me by Bookish Babe Andrea (I miss you, beech!). I read this a while back and realized I have yet to review it so better late than never!

Anyway, Marie Harte is now one of my go-to authors for romcom. I still have to read the rest of the books but I’m sure it’ll be worth reading and very entertaining to boot! What I loved about HOW TO HANDLE A HEARTBREAKER is how Marie Harte executed the dual POV brilliantly! Brody Singer’s chapters are very playful and stupidly “male” while Abby’s are more romanticized and very girly. Also these two started as fluck buddies with Brody serving as Abby’s “research specimen” for her erotic novels. The progression of their story was filled with lots of sexy flirting, hot sex, and ridiculous bickering. And even when it got to the heart of things, when Abby and Brody were hashing out their baggage and transitioning from friends with benefits to a committed relationship, it still felt light and sincere. I love the family dynamics and the very light drama, this series is my kind of contemporary romance.



A Single Kiss | Sweet Kisses 1 | Grace Burrowes
Contemporary Romance | January 6, 2015 | Sourcebooks Casablanca

Grace Burrowes is a highly recommended author by my SW, Grace of Books of Love, she loves Ms. Burrowes’ historical romance novels and as I don’t read much histrom, I thought this new series would be a better fit for me. So trust me, I’m very disappointed that I didn’t like A SINGLE KISS
A SINGLE KISS to me was like a cross between The Good Wife and Law & Order: SVU, family drama meets the courtroom. There was a lot of legal jargon that flew over my head and at times I feel like I’m reading the story midway (I checked the prequel novella and it’s independent from this). Now these are all minor things compared to the overall picture, something I would dock a cauldron for for subjective reasons. I disliked A SINGLE KISS because: 
  1. Hannah Stark was very standoffish, mysterious, and very defensive for the first half of the book for reasons that are revealed later on in the story and in hindsight, I understand why her demeanor was so. However it took too long for her to warm up and by the time she was showing vulnerability, I was way past the mark where I could’ve connected with her
  2. Trent Knightley does honor to his name because he’s sweet, thoughtful, protective, and just embrace Hannah, secrets and all, from almost the beginning. Unfortunately his loving manners got too much where I found it corny. Braiding Hannah’s hair? Cute but not for me
  3. The conflict was shallow
  4. The resolution was so convenient rainbows and unicorns are jumping off the pages in pure joy! It’s too neat, too pretty and without preamble except for giving us readers a happily ever after. 
I’ll still read the next one because it features a different couple, different story, and I’m hoping A SINGLE KISS is just a one time thing and the rest of the books sweeps me off my feet.

Shelley Liked It: In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Series: The Darkest Minds # 3 

Format: Hardcover, 535 pages
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Dystopian

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire


In The Afterlight is the final installment in The Darkest Minds trilogy, bringing everything to a head. Ruby Daly and the survivors of the attack on the Children’s League & Federal Coalition in Los Angeles are fractured, and struggling to survive. Cate and other agents are missing, other agents want to ransom the kids for money to fight President Gray, and Ruby is feeling the loss of a certain character who she was supposed to take care of. 
With President Gray and his thugs squeezing them like sardines, and with broken trust and betrayal on the horizon, Ruby becomes a totally different character. I would say that in many ways, she was as cold as the other side of the pillow, and had the emotional baggage of someone who slept around one too many times. But, we can’t expect that Ruby will be the perfect character. If you do, then you didn’t pay attention to the previous two novels. She has had to do things in order to survive, including removing Liam’s memories, make difficult decisions as a leader, and working with the devil himself, Clancy Gray.
I want to be able say that I had no qualms or problems with this story, but then I would be a liar, and that’s just not the way I roll. You want to know what this story really was set up on? Conflicts. Conflicts between Ruby and Cole over the direction they should be heading. Between Cole and Liam because that’s how brothers act. Between Ruby and Liam, Vida, Nico, Cate, and especially Clancy who is supposedly the key to finding his mother, and the supposed cure for IAAN. 
It’s also a story about struggle and survival. Ruby’s struggle with her powers which have grown exponentially. Her struggle to make things up to Liam who she loves, but can’t trust herself to ensure that he won’t be killed or do something stupid in order to save her. Ruby wants to end the rehabilitation camps, but it isn’t until almost the end of the book and a shocking loss before she makes a life or death choice and finds her way back to Thurmond.
I will say this, the last chapters of In The Afterlight truly saved the entire book from being a disappointment for me. There are still a whole bunch of non-answered questions, but that is part of life I guess. I liked that almost every character, including Suzume (Zu) gets their return engagement. I was a bit worried that Bracken had written her off, and actually did a little jig once the original group of Ruby, Liam, Zu, and Chubs were reunited. Add in Vida, and you have a really awesome group of characters.
Since the book is over 500 pages, I would have liked to see more story development from Senator Cruz, Dr. Lillian Gray, and especially Cate who helped Ruby escape from Thurmond. After everything that is said and done, Cate kind of was left out in the middle of nowhere, with no particular storyline to finish, with only a brief nod to thank her for being the only family Ruby had at the time.  
In the end, this series has been filed with heartbreaking deaths, fantastic and often time humorous relationships, frustrating tensions, especially between Liam and Ruby, and an ending that leaves room for the imagination since there are no more books in this series. Oh, and let’s not forget my favorite part, Vida and Chubs!!!

Bloggy Friends’ Reviews

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Suped Up: Strange Magic 1 by Michelle Mankin + Giveaway

Series: Strange Maigc 1 | The Magic Series

Format: Mobi
Release Date: January 22, 2015 
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: New Adult – PNR

Billy Blade is a hardworking, hard living, razor sharp musical force. Mysterious behind his dark shades, the rough around the edges Texan mesmerizes with his haunting harmonica and tantalizes with his dangerous looks and smooth country charm. His latest album is topping the charts. He’s the newly crowned King of the Bacchus Krewe. He’s definitely living the rock star dream.

Exotic Creole beauty Thyme Bellerose couldn’t be more content. She has it all. An adoring grandmother. A handsome Tulane medical student beau. A satisfying job in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Her life is as rich as the ice cream she creates. She’s got everything under control.

But control is an illusion. Dreams can turn into nightmares. And now during Mardi Gras, otherworldly powers stand ready to shape their destinies in ways they could never imagine.

Shadow and light. Magic and mystery. Reality and myth. All come together in a place where rules bend and lines blur. Even those between life and death.

Please note: This is Part One of a Two part novel. It does NOT stand alone. Part Two is available for pre-sale exclusively on Amazon. Recommended for mature readers. 17 and older.

Better late than never! I’m a little “late” for the release day party but I made it just in time to share not only my thoughts about Michelle Mankin’s latest project, STRANGE MAGIC, but also to share her epic giveaway below. Aside from her sexy rock stars, scorching romances, Ms. Mankin is a generous party host and I’ll be loathe not to share it with you. 
On to STRANGE MAGIC!
Thyme Bellarose’s story will have you glued from beginning to end. I love her spunk and stubbornness, this girl doesn’t stand down and rightfully so. She’s up for a long hard battle though and I’m anxious to see how she’s going to go about it considering she’s not necessarily well equipped to fight the people coming after her. Then again, its the reluctant ones that makes for great heroines so let’s see what kind of awesomeness Thyme’s going to be.
NOLA. Ice Cream. Voodoo. Music. Gods & their progeny. Crazy combo right but trust me it works! This little novella is the backstory to the main arc so it’s imperative that you read this otherwise things won’t make much sense when part 2 releases. Anyway I love STRANGE MAGIC P1 even if it ended in a big WTF What now?! way. STRANGE MAGIC captured my imagination, gave me a different kind of NOLA where evil hides in plain sight and all kinds of mischief happens in the shadows while  the music blasts and the alcohol flows. It’s playful and dangerous at the same time and I love this new musical fantasy MMankin penned for us, I’m excited to read some more!

MICHELLE MANKIN is the author of the Black Cat Records series of novels. Romance with subtext. For many years she worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter. Somehow, the boredom didn’t kill her but the hour and hours of looking at facts and figures provided ample time for her mind to wander. Black Cat Records in Vancouver provides the central backdrop for all of Michelle’s current novels. Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a Brutal Strength centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock ‘n roll industry. Things take a bit of a darker, edgier, once upon a turn with the Tempest series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there. When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend as she takes the children to school and back. 

Stalk Michelle

Loved It: Kick by Carmen Jenner + Giveaway

Series: Savage Saints MC 1

Format: ARC
Release Date: January 26, 2015 
Publisher: Self
Source: Author via TRSOR Promotions 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

When I was ten, my father indoctrinated me into the family.

A brotherhood who would fight, protect, and give their lives for one another. A club whose ties ran thicker than blood, murkier than the dirt and grime that tainted my soul. Stronger than the bonds that connected me to my own family.

A band of brothers, where loyalty was kept and paid in a currency of blood.

When I was twenty-seven, I betrayed that brotherhood.

I’ve spent every day since running, avoiding paying back that debt.

My name is Daniel Johnson. I have betrayed everyone I ever loved.

And I’ll betray her too.

This is my story—if you’re screwed up enough to want to read it.

Warning: Kick contains graphic violence, profanity, drug use, and explicit sexual situations of a taboo nature. Intended for an 18+ audience only. Not intended for pussies.

Bikers. I stay away from their lot because like the blurb says, which is also the general warning for most MC books, it’s not for pussies. 
Well I’m no pussy but it doesn’t mean that I’m not affected by stories like KICK. It’s unpretty, crude, gritty, and challenging. It’s designed to crack you open, run you through the wringer, and spin you around until you don’t know right from wrong because you find yourself romanticizing and idolizing the badboy anti-hero. Then again that’s what I signed up for, I need to step away from my usual reading specter once in a while and boy, did Carmen Jenner give me a swift kick in the butt for it. Thanks, btw.
So KICK. A spin-off of Sugartown and there’s nothing sweet about this novel. Told in flash-forward style, KICK is what you expect your biker romance to have. It’s violent, invasive, and provoking. I personally don’t want to associate myself with someone like Kick in real life however I have to admire his drive and fight. This dude has been fighting many things in different ways all his life and hasn’t known tenderness, love, shelter, etc. for almost all of his life. His concept of these gentle feelings stem from knowing the opposite, making him crave and vulnerable for “normal” things people like us take for granted and people like Kick are willing to pay a high price for. And even then, his version of love is jagged and will put anyone’s definition of unconditional to the test.
Once again I’m in awe of CJenner’s skill with spinning tales. IMO she mastered the male POV because KICK is very honest in that it’s unapologetic, more instinctive less emotional, the thoughts that ran through Kick’s head are the kind of things I imagine a man like him has. Full of rage, lust, desire, greed, and an unquenchable thirst for whatever it is he thinks he needs. The romance, for lack of a better word, will push your limits. It’s bruising in its honesty because you can’t write a story like this bubble gum anyway, ugly the only way to go. At the same time it’s beautiful because its stripped of any pretense so what you see is what you get and sometimes it’s better that way anyway.
KICK ain’t your Rainbow Brite HEA, it has successfully juxtaposed brutality and surrender and Savage Saints 1 had me flinching, cringing, gritting my jaw til it hurt, had me reading (figuratively) with one eye closed Kick’s story is staggering, nightmarish even. CJenner really went to the dark here angst doesn’t even begin to describe it. You either love it or hate it, take it or leave it, there’s no in-between. However if you want to take a walk in the wild side, read up and fulfill your MC fantasies, KICK will not disappoint.

I take a deep shuddering breath, close my eyes and stretch my hand towards him. His touch is gentle this time, far more gentle than I’d ever thought someone with so much uncontained violence to him could be.
“Spread your fingers,” he commands. I do, and he lifts the roll of tape, presses the edge to my skin and begins winding it over my knuckles. I close my eyes. The strident sound of it stretching out from the roll makes me want to flee. It makes me want to run as far from his touch—from any man’s touch—as I can possibly get.
The feel of the tape against my flesh, binding, holding, is so much worse. I tug on my hand, but he won’t let go. My heartrate skyrockets, and sweat beads erupt over my brow and upper lip. I’m in that room again, struggling, screaming, trying to fight them off, and failing.
Biker knows it, too. His dark eyes challenge, they dare me to run, but they also implore me to stay. It’s ironic that the only thing keeping me here, keeping me grounded, is the man who abducted me.
He holds my gaze. I don’t know exactly what is hidden in his dark blue one, but it suffocates the panic within me, douses it like water flooding flames. He bends his head to my hand. Taking the paper tape in his mouth, he rips it with his teeth.

I still. I soften. His gaze doesn’t leave mine, not even once. Not even when he starts in on my wrist, gently biting through each piece of tape before pressing it down with his rough hands. I’m mesmerised by his mouth, the piercing, and the soft, full lips. The light catches a silver chain around his neck, something I’ve never noticed before—but then I try not to make a habit of staring too closely at him. Not now, though. Now I watch every twitch, every blink, every intake of breath, and every inch that is swallowed up by his mouth moving closer to my flesh.

Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY Best Selling Author, doctor, pilot and CIA agent. She’s also a compulsive, flagrant prevaricator who gets to make things up for a living.

While Sugartown may not technically exist, Carmen grew up in a small Australian town just like it, and just like her characters, she always longed for something more. They didn’t have an Elijah Cade, though. If they did, you can be sure she would have never left.

Follow Carmen
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Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #135 + Another Day, The Walking Dead

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  I couldn’t resist because Melliane of Between Dreams and Reality follows this series and she’s loving it so far.
Bagged

from publishers & authors

Big & Small

How many days til 2.8.15? I ask because I’m itching for more episodes of THE WALKING DEAD. That mid-season finale was. Just. Agonizing. I need to know what happens next!


Last Week’s Reviews

It’s a new year and there’s a new linky for my humble weekly recap meme. Whether you’re a return participant or a new hopper, THANK YOU for joining, your participation is much appreciated. 
Also as this is a laid-back meme, please use your LABEL OR TAG LINKS and not your post links that way you don’t have to update your linky every week. 

Liked It: Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig

Series: Atlanta Burns 1-2

Format: eGalley
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary-MYA

BLURB:
You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns.

Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault.

You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.

Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.

Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?

QUOTABLE QUOTES:
Life is equal parts strange and beautiful and horrible, and we’re tossed into it without a map or an instruction guide. Poems and stories have a way of helping us make sense of things.

Suicide is selfish. Doesn’t do squat but leave behind a lot of mess. Worst of all, it makes sure that the bullies win. Because now they live in a world with one less person they hate-in a world that looks suddenly a little more like them.

Since reading Miriam Black, Chuck Wendig’s become one of my favorite male authors. His books are so graphic and animated they read like movies, his lead characters are flawed and fit the anti-hero bill perfectly, his plots are provoking and at times it takes on socially relevant themes which makes the story accessible to the readers to a degree. Such is the case with ATLANTA BURNS, a contemporary MYA story about a reluctant and unconventional heroine that found herself fighting some pretty powerful people with sheer cleverness and lots of gusto. Liked the book, loved the girl.
The Girl
Like Miriam Black, ATLANTA BURNS is an outsider and gained infamy after she blasted off her mother’s latest beau’s manly bits. And because of her curious reputation, Atlanta became the poster girl for the bullied and the go-to chick for even curiouser cases. I love Atlanta Burns, she’s such a toughie on the outside but a softie on the inside. She’s a ball-buster and has major anger issues, very loyal, very witty, and hard to outsmart. She’s going to be one heck of a heroine, this one.
The Book
I loved that ATLANTA BURNS took on relevant themes like bullying, racial discrimination, and other forms of bigotry led by some Neo-Nazi group disguised as a gun club. The book was divided in two major parts, the suicide due to bullying and the dogfight. Though both are good storylines, part 1 was too short especially as it appears to be the main arc of the book, and part 2 felt like a distraction because towards the end, the story eventually came back to Shane’s death and the circumstances that surrounds it. Apart from the choppy feel of the novel, Atlanta’s character development was slow if not non-existent. I just didn’t feel like she changed a whole lot throughout her ordeal, whatever good characteristics she exhibited I think was already there in the beginning so it wasn’t a big surprise to learn that ATLANTA BURNS cares more than she appears to be. 
Though I have a few gripes, I love the feel of ATLANTA BURNS. It’s packed with action and I enjoyed the David-and-Goliath-like conflict that’s escalating fast. I can easily see this as a graphic novel, I think the scenes would look spectacular illustrated and I believe it will do wonders for the story. Now I hope there’s a second book in the making as CWendig mentioned in his note that this book came into existence thanks to a kickstarter project, I hope he has enough money leftover to write the next one.

Loved It: Burned by Karen Marie Moning

Series: Fever 7

Format: Mobi
Release Date: January 20, 2015 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Puchased 
Genre: Urban Fantasy

BLURB:
It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed. Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

QUOTABLE QUOTES:
Sex either blows your fucking mind or it’s not good enough. – Barrons
You only know who you are in opposition to something, what you choose to fight for and against. The rest doesn’t matter. -Barrons
Love. You can only be broken without it. So long as the smallest spark of love, pure, protective, and good, exists within you, that which is Keltar in you will survive. You will return. -Dageus
You have a problem with Mac, you work it out with me, I am her shield, I am her second fucking skin. (SQUEE) -Barrons to Ryodan
Some crimes are so personal, blood-vengeance belongs only to the one who suffered them. -Ryodan
The currency of life is passion, and as with any coin, it has two sides: pleasure, pain, joy, sorrow. Impossible to slip a single side of that coin into your pocket. You take it all or nothing.  -Ryodan
Welcome to war games, Mac, where the terrain never stops changing and he who adapts fastest wins.  -Ryodan

After being made to wait for so long Fever fans finally got their hands on BURNED. I loved it but I’m not head over heels in love with the book nor do I feel giddy about the progression of the story. Once again Karen Marie Moning managed to split her fandom asunder because of the events that transpired here, not to be spoilery but I think it’s the tepid romance that did it. I’ll expound more below.
What I Loved
  • Mac’s BURNED‘s main narrator and I’m happy about that because I’ve missed her so much! She’s changed but still the same in some way in that her “Rainbow Girl” side has never truly gone away. 
  • Barrons has his own chapter!
  • We get to know more about the Nine and the way things are lining up, I won’t be surprised if moving forward each of them get their HEA and their respective love stories will be included in the coming books. Aside from Ryodan and Barrons, I can see two more are on their way to meeting their mates for life!
  • As expected, the action is non-stop. 
  • There are new characters and a few game changers.
  • New story threads are opened giving me more reasons to look forward to the eighth book. 
  • There were a few scenes that were truly hilarious! The bickering between the characters in the most inopportune time had me LOL-ing.
  • I love the chunky index in the end because so many things have already happened and given that it’s been over two years since the last book, it’s very thoughtful of KMM to refresh us with certain important events. 

Look out for
  • I saw Dani’s storyline in BURNED from the first handful of pages. I guess it wasn’t easy to guess that it’ll go down that road to make her fit Ryodan. 
  • Speaking of Dani, I thought I loved her in Dreamfever, hated her in Shadowfever, liked her in Iced, now I just don’t know what to make of her. She’s one of those ambiguous characters IMO.
  • There were hilarious scenes but BURNED wasn’t as funny as snarky as the previous novels. 
  • BURNED isn’t thick with sexual tension like Iced was nor was it hot like the previous Fever novels. I didn’t mind the lack of it but I felt it’s absence inconsistent with the flow of things. 
  • In addition, as BURNED is more Mac’s book. I was hoping we’ll see more of her relationship with Barrons and how it progressed since Shadowfever but I felt like it regressed. Oh there were some touching moments but I didn’t feel their intimacy leap off the pages the same way it did in the first book. 
  • Someone dies, it was shocking, but there’s another surprise in the end. 
  • The fae storyline didn’t move forward too much. 
  • Lastly, and this is a personal issue, I’m not a big fan of multiple POV’s! To be fair, KMM did it well but for me, it’s more like speed bumps than something than enhances the story. The way I see it, if some of the minor characters’ POV’s were removed, the main plot could’ve gotten farther.
Overall, I still love BURNED even if it wasn’t as great as I expected it to be. I can’t discount how awesome Karen Marie Moning’s unique dystopic world is and its addictive characters. BURNED just felt like it’s not in harmony with the rest of the books? I don’t even know if that’s the right way to describe it, in on itself, BURNED kicked ass but if I line it up with the rest of the series, it felt like *gasp* as filler book or a volume that sets up the stage for another turn in the story. I don’t want to critique it too much at this point because I’m hoping Fever 8 will help up make sense of this. So for now, read it. Go with the flow. Savor it. It’s going to be another long wait til the next one.
If you would like to read more Fever-like books, I have a few recommendations here.

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BURNED Audio Book Review: Hot Listens (5 stars)