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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Shooting Stars by Karina Halle

Title: Shooting Stars
Author: Karina Halle
Series: The Artist Trilogy, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Grand Cen­tral Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.”

Shooting Stars is the second book in The Artist Trilogy by Karina Halle.

I have to start this review by saying if you haven’t read previous books in the series (On Every Street and Sins & Needles) stop right here and go read them first. Do not try to read Shooting Stars first because you will be completely lost.

Shooting Stars starts right where Sins & Needles ended. Ellie paid the price to give Camden a second chance to life and to a life with his ex and his son; now Ellie is back with the man she had been running away from for over six years. A man that is promising to bring her back to her past, the one she left behind, and there is no way to say no to Javier and his manipulative ways.
Javier not only wants Ellie at his side as his little queen, he also wants her to kill the man (Travis) that tortured and left her marked when she was only a child.
Ellie thought she had finally left her past behind and was ready to a new future with Camden, but now next to Javier he’s bringing back all her insecurities and turning her into a woman she despises.
Their vengeance trip takes Javier and Ellie to Mexico, where Ellie is supposed to catch Travis’ attention, get close to him and kill him. Ellie knows that that is not as easy as Javier says it is; she also knows that Javier has something else in store for her, something he’s not saying and knowing Javier and what he capable of that uncertainty scares her witless.
Camden knows the sacrifice Ellie did for him and with that in mind he knows he cannot leave her in Javier’s hands. Enlisting the help of Ellie’s friend and almost father, Gus, Camden goes to Ellie’s rescue. Camden knows to get Ellie back he will have to go the extra mile and do things he never thought he would ever do. The only thing that worries Camden is not knowing if Ellie is with Javier because she wants to or because he really forced her to be with him.

This is one of those books that pushes your buttons and takes you places you never thought you’d go. You not only end up approving of things that are not only illegal but also immoral and in a way you kind of end up accepting them as logical and the only way out to certain circumstances. That is the power Mrs. Halle’s words have in us; she makes us accept and understand that there is not only black and white but there is a big fringe of gray where things are not always as they seem to be.
Mrs. Halle gets us so into the world she created in The Artist Trilogy that we end up being part of that world of violence, drugs and no morals. When a writer makes you see and accept torture as the only way to get something you know she/he is doing something right with her writing and that’s the case with Karina Halle and her The Artist Trilogy.

Sometimes I say a book was a roller coaster of emotion but none of them compares to Shooting Stars. Shooting Stars is the mother of all rollercoaster of emotions. This book takes you up, rolls you down, while speed-blending you, twisting you, to then spit you in a puddle of sensations and leave you gasping for breath.

One second I was cheering for Camden, the next despite all my misgivings I was empathizing with Javier. The only thing that was constant was my hope that Ellie would be able to come out of this situation less emotionally scarred than what she came in.

Ellie did some things in this installment that made me cringe and hurt for her. She feels she is not worthy of love and self-punishes for the actions she is forced to take. She did things she shouldn’t have done and even though it will hurt her (and me) I can’t wait to see what she will need to do to even out the consequences of her actions.

The end of Shooting Stars left me hyperventilating and dying to get my hands in the next and final installment of this amazing series, Bold Tricks. October 15th can’t come soon enough.

Without a doubt a recommend this series, but as I said before you need to start with On Every Street, then Sins & Needles and from there move to Shooting Stars.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
On Every Street
Sins & Needles
Shooting Stars
Bold Tricks (October 15th)

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

25 Signs You Are Addicted to Books

Do you know if you are addicted to books? Here are 25 signs to help you get an idea how addicted to books you really are. 

I identify myself with 2., 3., 4., 7., 8., 11., 12., 13., 16., 18., 19., 21., 22., 23., 24., and 25. 
16 from 25, I think I can say I'm addicted to books. What about you? With how many of these signs do you identify yourself?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Early Review: Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Title: Heart of Venom
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin, book 9
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books (August 27th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book

“When I say you’re a dead man, take that literally.

To me, killing people is like a day at the salon: cut and dry. Well, more like rinse and repeat when you moonlight as the assassin the Spider. But my last spa day ended redder than my freshly painted nails after a twisted Fire elemental and his goons kidnapped my close friend Sophia Deveraux and nearly killed her sister Jo-Jo in the process.

Up Ashland’s most dangerous mountains, and deep into the heart of its blackest woods—I’ll track these thugs no matter where they take Sophia. It doesn’t matter what kinds of elemental magic they try to throw at me, my Ice and Stone powers can take the heat and then some. I will get Sophia back, over their dead bodies.

Because anybody that hurts Gin Blanco’s family becomes a body.”
Heart of Venom is the ninth book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.

Since the first time we met Sophia Deveraux we knew something bad happened in her life, something that left her forever changed, but we didn’t know any details of her ordeal until now.
Many years ago Sophia was kidnapped and held hostage by Harley Grimes, he tortured her and tried to break her. Luckily for her Fletcher Lane rescued her just in time and brought her back to her sister Jo-Jo. After her recovery Sophia started to work for Fletcher at the Pork Pit and as a body disposer for his multiple jobs. Now with Fletcher gone Sophia works with Gin, but she’s more than just an employee, she and Jo-Jo are part of Gin’s family.
After many years, Grimes is back in the picture and with the help of his psychotic sister, Hazel, they kidnapped Sophia again, leaving behind Jo-Jo fighting for her life. What the Grimes brother and sister didn’t know was that attacking the Deveraux sisters was the same as signing a death warrant with their names on it, because Gin aka The Spider would never let anybody hurt the few people that she counts as family and friends.

Heart of Venom uses the same formula as previous books, somebody attacks a member of Gin’s family or a friend, and Gin comes to the rescue. The difference in this installment is that Gin is more emotionally compromised than in previous books. This time around Gin doesn’t do the detailing planning she usually does before any of her assignments, she knows every second counts and there is not time to spare, she needs to get Sophia out now.
Sophia barely survived her first time in Grimes’ hands and after learning more about that experience Gin knows Sophia will rather be dead than going through all that over again.

Despite not having planned the attacked Gin shows us how smart she is when she strategized the attack, we can see what she learned under Fletcher’s tutelage and how she puts it into practice and the best part is that she’s not alone, now she has a network of friends that will always be there for her whenever she needs their help.

One of the things I liked the most about Heart of Venom was that we learned more about the Deveraux sisters and how they came to be in Fletcher/Gin’s lives. Sophia’s past not only made me love her more but also after learning of what she has survived I can’t help it but feel a deep admiration for her for surviving, and for Jo-Jo for being there for her and understand and accept what Sophia needed when she needed it.

As with previous books Heart of Venom is action packed with fight scenes that will make you bite your nails and tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The villains are twisted and so well written that is impossible not to hate them and wish them a very slow and painful death under Gin’s professional hands. My only problem here is that for many books it’s say that Gin is a very strong elemental, one of the stronger ever to exist, but over and over her elemental magic gets overpower by others allegedly not that strong. This is something that I don’t understand, if she the strongest or isn’t she?

I know the question of the year about this book is Owen and Gin’s relationship. Did things get fixed between them or did they finally end it? The only thing I can say without giving spoilers away is that I don't hate Owen anymore, but still I don't love him as I did once. He hasn’t won me over, but he's on the right track.
I really liked Gin’s reaction to Owen’s words/actions. It shows the strong and smart woman she is.

Another thing that kind of bothered me in Heart of Venom was that Finn has come to play a second place in Gin’s life. He used to be her brother, partner and all around always in her life. Now sadly others have usurped that spot. I miss Finn and what he brought to the story; I can only hope this changes in future books.

Since the moment M.M. Monroe was mention couple of books ago we been waiting to learn more about him/her, sadly in this installment he/she is just mention in passing. What is said is worrying but we won’t know anything else until two books from now because next book in the series, The Spider, will be a prequel story about Gin’s first years and how she came to be the famous assassin The Spider.

I can honestly say that I liked Heart of Venom better than previous two books in the series. Heart of Venom made me remember why I loved this series that much. If you are a fan of this series this is a book you need to read. If you haven’t read this series this is not a book to start with, these books need to be read in order.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
Spider’s Bite
Web of Lies
Tangled Threads
By A Thread
Heart of Venom (August 27th)

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Today I'm at... The Book Nympho

Today I'm at... 

Go and check out my post for...

About Kick Ass Vampires

Just click in any of the pictures to be taken directly to the post.
Don't forget to say hi to Jen.

Go Team Stomp!

Movie Trailer: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

"The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor."


Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson

Title: Elysian Fields
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans, book 3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combating an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.”
Elysian Fields is the third installment in the Sentinels of New Orleans series by Suzanne Johnson.

Elysian Fields starts couple of weeks after the events in River Road (second book). Drusilla Jaco best known as DJ is still recovering from the injuries she received in her last assignment (River Road), but her job doesn’t wait for her. A serial killer has been murdering people around New Orleans; it looks like a copycat of a famous 1900s murderer known as the Axeman.
After some investigating DJ realizes it’s not a copycat but the Axeman himself. He has come back from the dead and luckily for her it’s DJ’s job to stop him.
Things get more complicated for DJ when she becomes one of the Axeman’s targets. If dealing with a murderer undead wasn’t enough DJ also has to deal with Elders and Elven politics. Adding her creepy neighbor, Rand, the pirate Jean Lafitte, her ex-partner Alex Warin, and his cousin Jake Warin to the equation it’s a guarantee formula for disaster or at least for very entertaining moments.

I’m a little bit conflicted about this book; while there were parts I really liked there were others I could have done without them.

I liked the storyline with the Axeman, especially after we have learned the “reason” why he was able to come and attack so many people so frequently. I wanted to know why he was targeting DJ and who was behind his actions. I really liked the why of it; it was a surprise and a nice twist in the story.  Mrs. Johnson surprised me there and I liked to be surprised by an author.

What I didn’t like was that the DJ in Elysian Fields was more like the DJ in Royal Street (first book) than the DJ in River Road; what I want to say with this is that while there was a lot of character growth in River Road the feeling I had with Elysian Fields was that DJ went back to her old ways and lost what she had gained in growth. DJ made bad decisions after bad decisions and rushed blindly to situations without thinking about the consequences. I thought by now she should have known better, but sadly that was not the case.

In Elysian Fields I also had a problem in the romance department. Book after book DJ’s love interests have increase. DJ suffers from I-Like-All-Of-Them-And-They-All-Want-To-Be-With-Me syndrome. Almost every time a male character is introduce to the story that character ends up interested in DJ and in a way she reciprocates that interest. In this installment DJ not only has Alex, Jean Lafitte and Jake interested in her, but has also a new contender for her heart, her neighbor and Eugene’s boyfriend, Rand.
It’s clear that DJ likes Alex more than the others, but still she’s not 100% there and I don’t think she can commit to a serious relationship until she matures enough and stops flirting and considering every male that crosses her way. I’m afraid if DJ continues the through this path she can easily become another Anita Blake.

The main conflict in the story gets nicely tied up at the end, but it’s obvious that the repercussions of the events in Elysian Fields are yet to come.

Despite the problems I had with Elysian Fields I can honestly say that liked it and enjoyed reading it. Mrs. Johnson writing is fluid and engaging and the world building is complex, original and cleverly intermingled with the story.

I’m looking forward to next installments in the series. I can’t wait to see what Mrs. Johnson has in store for DJ and her men.

I recommend you to read this book if you like your urban fantasy with complex and interesting world building and kick ass heroines. I also recommend reading previous books first to get the whole Sentinels of New Orleans’ experience.

My Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

Other books in the series
Elysian Fields

Other reviews Goodreads

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review, Author Interview & Giveaway: Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRine

Title: Along Came a Spider
Author: Kate SeRine
Series: Transplanted Tales, book 3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“When Trish Muffet is attacked at a grisly crime scene, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Nicky “Little Boy” Blue. But since walking away from everything two years before, Nicky’s been doling out vigilante justice as “The Spider,” taking on the vicious predators of the night in hopes it’ll lead him to his ultimate target – Vlad Dracula. And he needs Trish’s help. 

Although Nicky’s renegade style goes against everything Trish stands for, she’ll do what she must to bring Dracula down. With danger stalking her, Trish knows the only person she can count on is the one man who has the power to leave her breathless. There’s no way she’s letting this spider frighten her away…”
Along Came A Spider is the third book in the Transplanted Tales series by Kate SeRine.

Trish Muffet not only lost her heart to Nicky “Little Boy” Blue the moment she met him, but she also lost the opportunity to be with him when she declined his offer of leaving with him. Centuries has passed and Trish hadn’t been able to forget him; she waited for a recognition that never came the few times their lives crossed paths; but after he married another woman Trish kind of lost all her hope of one day being with him.
Years later Nicky’s wife was killed during an attack in which he barely survived. In need of vengeance Nicky disappears from the map and turns into a vigilante known as The Spider. Nicky’s only objective in life has become to find Vlad Dracula and avenge his wife Juliet.
Trish works as a forensics investigator for the Fairytale Management Authority (FMA) and during one of her investigations she is attacked by some kind of vampire. Luckily for her The Spider comes to the rescue. Trish doesn’t like anything illegal or going against the law but for Nicky she is willing to look the other way. When she is attacked and rescue by Nicky for a second time they realize that for Trish to survive they need to be close together, this is convenient for Nicky too because Vlad is the one controlling the vamps that are attacking Trish. Protecting Trish will get Nicky closer to Vlad and to his vengeance.

Every time I read a book in the Transplanted Tales series I can’t help but admire the talent Mrs. SeRine has that enables her to write these fun, unique and engaging books and I’m happy to inform you that Along Came a Spider was not the exception.

I liked Trish since the moment I met her and after reading Along Came a Spider I liked her even more. Trish is fun, smart and witty. She makes a perfect heroine.

I have my doubts about Nicky; when I met him for the first time (Red, first book) he was married and was devastated after losing his wife in the attack that cost her life. I didn’t know how Mrs. SeRine was going to make me believe that he has forgotten his wife and was ready to move on with Trish, but Mrs. SeRine not only made me see that but much more, and at the end I was cheering for him and fervently wishing for the HEA he much deserved.

Trish and Nicky relationship was fun and never dull. There was an attraction from the past and it was very apparent that there was a serious chemistry between them; the problem here was that Nicky had some personal issues he needed to overcome first to be able to be with Trish.
I loved Trish and Nicky together, their banter was entertaining and their attraction was of the charts, but I had a problem with their relationship and it was that they fell in love too quickly and without any substance in their relationship. When they mentioned the L word the first thing that came to my mind was “when did they fall in love?”

In Along Came a Spider we see characters we love from previous books, like Red, Nathan, Lavender and Seth; we see what’s going on in their lives and how they are dealing with their new lives as couples.
One character that shinned in this installment and that I adore is Gideon. I loved him in The Better to See You (second book) and I loved him even more in this installment. I can’t be more excited knowing that next book, Ever After, will be his story.

In this book we are also introduced to new characters and in the best Mrs. SeRine’s way they couldn’t have been better depicted, we meet The Three Little Pigs, whom are house builders I would never recommend. We are also introduced to Rumpelstiltskin and his partner, they are hilarious and I can wait to see more of them in future books. 

Along Came a Spider is a roller coaster of emotions with so many twist and turns that you won’t know which way is up and which way is down, and when you finally reached the destination you can just sit in awe after such a tremendous ride.

I can go on and on praising Along Came a Spider and Mrs. SeRine but the best thing I can do is tell you to trust me and read it. Mrs. SeRine does a good job-recounting event from previous book but to get the full effect that is the Transplanted Tales series I recommend you to read this book in order and starting with Red (first book in the series).

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws

Other books in the series
Along Came a Spider
Ever After (2014)

Other reviews Goodreads


Kate, welcome back to my blog. I have some questions for you; some are book related, others personal, and others… You will see.

1.   I’m pretty sure you have been asked this many times, but I haven’t asked you… Why did you decide to write about fairy tales?

The idea for the Transplanted Tales came to me during a conversation with my eldest son, who was 8 or 9 years old at the time. We like to have what we call “What if” conversations where he’ll ask me a question that’s totally out there and then we chat about it. That day he asked the question: “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” As we chatted about who it would be, what that Tale would do for a living, and so on, I started to get a very clear picture in my head of a tough, hard-hitting version of Little Red Riding Hood — all grown up and ready to knock some heads. And everything just fell into place. I wrote RED in record time.

2.   Which was your favorite fairy tale while growing up and why?

One of my favorites was “Snow White and Rose Red” where two sisters help a bear who ends up being a prince that was cursed. I don’t know what it was about this one that I liked so much, but I loved for my mom to read it to me.

I also loved “Rumpelstiltskin”. My mom used to act out the story when she told it to us before bed, always putting her own silly twist on the story. I remember laughing so hard I cried.

“Beauty and the Beast” was another favorite. LOVE that one.

3.   If you could live in a fairy tale, in which would you like to live and which character you would like to be and why?

Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. Probably “Beauty and the Beast”. There’s just something so timelessly romantic about that story! And I’d be the heroine, of course! ;)

4.   There is something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while and even more after reading Along Came a Spider. Is there any particular reason as to why the heroes of your books are ex-boyfriends of Red or it was just a coincidence?

That wasn’t my intention when I started out. Having her exes as suspects in the first book worked well for the story, but originally, Red was going to get back together with Seth. That was the plan. But when I wrote the description of Nate Grimm, I knew he had to be the hero! I still had to bring Seth in somehow, though. And when I wrote his few short scenes in RED, I knew he had to get an HEA of his own. In fact, my editor insisted that he be the hero of the next book. And then Nicky came along… And, well, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve had a crush on him from the start. LOL 

5.   A couple of days ago you announced that you signed on with Kensington Books to write a novella and a full-length novel (book 4th). Congratulations *throws confetti* Can you please tell us what can we expect from Grimm Consequences, the novella sequel to Red.

Thanks so much!!! I’m incredibly excited to bring more Tales to my readers.

Grimm Consequences picks up about two months after events in Red and before The Better To See You. I don’t have an “official” blurb for the book yet, but here’s a little bit about it:

When Nate’s fellow Reapers discover what he did to protect Tess from a blood-thirsty sorceress, their judgment is swift, their methods harsh. Torn from his side in a brutal attack, Tess is now the prisoner of the Reapers and will suffer Nate’s punishment in his stead unless Nate severs his ties to the mortal world—and Tess—forever. But the Reapers have underestimated the depth of Nate’s love. And the fury of his wrath. Determined to dole out a little punishment of his own, Nate’s coming for the woman he loves. And there’s going to be hell to pay.

6.   I loved Gideon in a The Better to See You and loved him even more in Along Came a Spider. You know how much I love him because as soon as I finished reading Along Came a Spider I contacted you and asked (begged) you to please write his book. Now that you have announced that his book will be next I want to take the next plane to your city and move next door to you. But I don’t think you or my husband would like that idea. So the only thing left for me to do is to ask you if his heroine is going to be a Tale or a human, I think a human name Marcela sounds perfect for him. But if you have something different planned for him *cries* can you (please, I beg you) tell us what to expect from his lady-love?

LOL – You’re too cute! I love Gideon! And I’m delighted with how readers have taken to him. He’s such a fun character to write! Definitely the strong, silent type. ;)  I can tell you, his heroine is a Tale named Arabella Locksley—although, you wouldn’t know her by that name because, of course, the storytellers got her story all wrong. And, like my other heroines, you can expect a woman who is strong, sexy, sassy, and snarky. And she’ll be a challenge for Gideon because of her unpredictability.

5 – QPQ (quick personal questions)

1.   What do you drink while you are writing (coffee, tea, soda, vodka, absinthe, ayahuasca…)?  Coffee — and sometimes pumpkin spiced tea.

2.   What is your favorite food? I absolutely LOVE Greek food.

3.   What book are you reading now or read last?  I just finished Cecy Robson’s A CURSED EMBRACE (Weird Girls #2), and am currently reading Kait Ballenger’s debut novel, TWILIGHT HUNTER (Execution Underground #1). Cecy and Kait are both incredibly talented authors and their series are fabulous!! I’m blessed to call them my friends.

4.   Do you buy a book by the cover?  I seldom buy a book just because of the cover, but if the cover catches my eye, I’ll definitely pick it up and read the blurb. And if the blurb is awesome, I’m in.

5.   What is the place in the world you have dreamed about visiting all your life?  The United Kingdom. And I’d like to visit all 50 states here in the U.S. I’ve made it to 28 so far.

Kate is hosting a very generous giveaway, to participate you just need to fill up the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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