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Showing posts by: Jessica Turner click to see Jessica Turner's profile
Apr 23 2012 3:00pm

First Look: Jenn Bennett’s Summoning the Night (April 24, 2012)

Summoning the Night by Jenn BennettJenn Bennett
Summoning the Night (an Arcadia Bell novel)
Pocket / April 24, 2012 / $7.99

After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no.

Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.

Hands down, Jenn Bennett writes some of the best characters: They’re relatable, approachable, and gosh darn it, near perfection. Lon, Cady, and Jupe especially have carved out little places in my heart with their frank dialogue, realist character growth, and overall interactions with one another. I’m pretty sure they could make a tale about wallpapering Jupe’s room interesting.

[But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that...]

Apr 14 2012 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Hailey Edwards’s A Hint of Frost (Araneae Nation, Book 1) (April 17, 2012)

A Hint of Frost by Hailey EdwardsHailey Edwards
A Hint of Frost (Araneae Nation #1)
Samhain/ April 17, 2012 / $5.50 digital

When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.

Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.

Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.

Are you a Game of Thrones addict? Have you started referring to your girlfriends as “wenches” and the husband as “my lord,” really pushing for that “your grace” title you so desperately want? Well, Hailey Edwards’s Hint of Frost might just be the book you’ve been looking for. 

[The guaranteed HEA’s a nice touch too...]

Jan 17 2012 11:49am

Fresh Meat: E.L. James’s Fifty Shades Freed (January 19, 2012)

Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
E. L. James
The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, January 19, 2012, $19.99

When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives....  Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed.

Now, together, they have more – love, passion, intimacy, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control, and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present....

One of the most interesting things about the Fifty trilogy is that the underlying plot and the overall drama come, almost single-handedly, from the breakdown and attempted rebuilding of one its main characters, the elusive Christian Grey. Sure, there is drama and even some suspense in E. L. James’s Fifty Shades Freed (the final book of the Fifty trilogy) that come in the form of a bad guy, and even a few major life changes for Ana, but watching the nature of Christian’s character unfold before my eyes has to be the most rewarding part of the book.

[Unraveling Fifty Shades...]

Oct 21 2011 12:05pm

When Life Gets Heavy, Read Hot!

Omega Mine by Aline HunterI’ve got a confession to make: When life gets tough, I read smut. The smuttier the better. BDSM? Sign me up! Alien threesomes? Yes, please! Tortured bad boys you definitely can’t take home to Mama? Who needs Mama’s approval, anyway?

The last few months have been chaotic and stressful and sometimes mean, and S.M.U.T has been my chocolate bar, my bottle of cabernet. My nights have been filled with “Oops, I accidentally fell on your dick” tales that keep my mood light and my panties wet…and apparently my shame levels low.

I’ve read smexy before. I AM female. But it’s not my typical MO. Urban Fantasy usually reigns supreme on my bookshelves. It’s always provided me with everything I’ve ever needed. Until recently.

[Erotica to the rescue...]

Sep 5 2011 9:41am

True Blood Season Four, Episode 11: Does “Soul of Fire” Translate to “Hot Mess”?

True Blood

We are winding down to the final episode—next week!—of True Blood, which may or may not be at trainwreck in the making.

What we do now is that there are spoilers, more spoilers than Sookie has sundresses. So you have been warned, okay?


[Would you wear a sundress to a witch-vamp showdown?...]

Aug 22 2011 11:13am

True Blood Season 4, Episode 9: Ch-Ch-Changes

Sookie Stackhouse drinks from BillThe episode begins with Alcide and Bill trying to save Sookie from the knife wound to the gut she got at the cemetery. She’s not responding, but a couple drops of Bill’s blood must have made it into her system because she wakes up groggy but otherwise right as rain....wanna guess if Bill’s blood is going to have an effect on her?

When she wakes up to see both Bill and Alcide looking over her, but not Eric; she shoots up, demanding to know where he is and telling them they have to go find Eric. Alcide tries to reason with her by pointing out that she nearly just died because of the “damn fangers” again, but she’s having none of it. Alcide tells her he’s finally “done here” and leaves.

[Come back, Alcide, come back!...]

Aug 15 2011 1:25pm

Fresh Meat: Darynda Jones’s Second Grave on the Left August 16, 2011

Second Grave on the Left by Darynda JonesDarynda Jones
Second Grave on the Left
St. Martin’s Press, August 16, 2011, $21.99

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

[Coffee and chocolate! Which way to the grave?...]

Aug 8 2011 10:58am

True Blood Season 4, Episode 7: Breaking the Chains of Love

Marnie in True BloodThis episode, titled “Cold Grey Light of Dawn,” really solidifies nearly all the separate storylines into the singular plot that is the necromancer Antonia’s attempt to take down the vampires. We still don’t really understand why she’s chosen a tiny little town in Louisiana for the beginning of her revolt, but we’re going with it.

[Is it a spoiler to tell you that Alcide and Eric get bare-chested in this episode? Nah, we didn’t think so. But there are spoilers ahead... ]

Jul 25 2011 11:00am

True Blood Season Four, Episode Five: Sealed with a Kiss

Typical, everytime you fix a problem, two more come upA review of episode 5, “Me and The Devil” with enough ***spoilers*** to feed an alligator.

When this week’s episode of True Blood begins, Tommy is at the trailer park fighting Joe Lee, who’s  slowly choking the life out of Tommy. By pretending to be unconscious, Tommy turns the tables and starts choking JL instead. Of course then Tommy’s mom starts yelling at him to stop hurting Joe Lee and Tommy ends up fighting them both off.

Pretty soon he gets the upper hand against Joe Lee and beats the crap out of him with a lead pipe. Well, of course that didn’t make Mama happy, so when she jumps at Tommy screaming “I’ll kill you” he turns around to push her off him and the pipe in his hand connects with her head, killing her, too.

As wrong as this is going to sound, “Good riddance.”

[Good for him, what about Sam?]

Jul 21 2011 9:30am

Late to the Party: Catching Up on Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Series

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn KenyonAs an Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reader and reviewer, there are authors that I see everywhere; authors that everyone seems to talk about all the time. Each time yet another book release comes and goes from one of these authors I promise myself that before the next release happens I’ll finally read a book or three of the series. One such author is Sherrilyn Kenyon.

So, when I noticed how close I was to the upcoming release of Retribution, the latest addition to her Dark-Hunter series, I downloaded Fantasy Lover, the series prequel, to my ipad and set out to see what all the fuss was about, once and for all.

The prequel Fantasy Lover reads very chick-lit-esque, (a lot of fluff and very little stuff) with the protagonist summoning the hero from an ancient book to be her love slave until the “spell” wears off. Absolutely this book is about a girl and guy and the story about how the two became one, but I can see why the series took off from here. Even though it was a little too sweet at times for my taste, I was surprised with all the history that was provided for both the main characters, especially Julian the enslaved greek god, and the rich mythology throughout.

[More thoughts from a Dark-Hunter series first-timer...]

Jul 11 2011 11:19am

True Blood Season 4, Episode 3: Gone Too Far?

True Blood Season 4Episode 3 blurb (As many ****SPOILERS**** as there are shirtless men. In other words, a lot):

Eric and Sookie work out an agreement while Bill renders advice and guidance to Jessica. Meanwhile, Jason becomes the hero and Tommy, once again, becomes estranged from Sam. Pam instructs Lafayette that if demands aren’t met, retaliation may be in order. Marnie sets out to give her new powers a try. Eric upsets a get-together.

I seemed to be thinking and saying out loud “that was f***ed up” a lot this episode—and not necessarily in a good way.

[So what way was it?...]

Jun 27 2011 10:49am

True Blood Season 4 Episode 1: Fairy Godmothers Suck

True Blood Season 4The True Blood finale from last season left a LOT of the characters’ fates up in the air, and while we did get some answers in the season premiere that showed last night, in grand True Blood tradition, I’m pretty sure I ended up with a few more questions than answers.

*******SPOILERS BELOW*******

The episode begins with Sookie popping up in Faery with her godmother, the woman we’ve been introduced to as “Claudine” throughout season 3. There are other faeries as well as other humans all around. Everything is twinkle-y, and pretty.

Sookie even runs into Barry the bellboy from season 2—they’re both offered these ridiculous glowing pears, but she uses some part of her brain and is hesitant to eat them. Then a person in the crowd catches her eye, and it turns out to be her grandfather. Funny thing, though, Granddaddy is the same age she remembers from 20 years previous.

[Time warps ftw!...]

May 30 2011 4:30pm

Fresh Meat: Ilona Andrews’s Magic Slays (May 31, 2011)

Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsIlona Andrews
Magic Slays (A Kate Daniels Novel)
Penguin, May 31, 2011, $7.99 (print and digital)

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn’t easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn’t bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt.

Springtime is one of my favorites times of the year, and it has nothing to do with the birds chirping, the flowers booming, or any of that other crap.

Spring brings with it one of my favorite kick-ass heroines, Kate Daniels, and with her comes all the paranormal beings who reside in Kate Daniels’ Atlanta. Kate Daniels’ creators, the writing duo that writes under the Ilona Andrews moniker, have impeccable world-building.

[Step into their world...]

May 30 2011 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Vicki Pettersson’s The Neon Graveyard (May 31, 2011)

The Neon Graveyard by Vicki PetterssonVicki Petersson
The Neon Graveyard (Signs of the Zodiac, Book 6)
Harper Voyager, May 31, 2011, $7.99

Once she was a soldier for the Light, the prophesied savior who would decide the outcome of the eternal conflict raging unseen in the dark corners of her glittering hometown. Now Joanna Archer is just another mortal—still born of an impossible union of Shadow and Light . . . still hunted by both—and carrying the unborn child of a lover held captive by a depraved demon goddess. Joining forces with a band of rogue Shadow agents, Joanna’s ready to storm the stronghold of her demonic foe, risking everything to enter this ghastly, godforsaken realm where the price of admission is her eternal soul. Because in a world that has stripped her of her power, identity, and fortune, Joanna has nothing left to lose—except her baby, her future, and the epic war poised to consume the city.

[Epic War? And the end of a series? Ack!...]

May 12 2011 9:00am

Alpha Male Smackdown: Who’s Top Dog?

Magic Bleeds by Ilona AndrewsIt took Natasha and Jessica over a month to whittle down a list of alphas they love, never mind the arguments they had trying to change each other’s opinions on the males they disagreed on.

Eventually they had to agree that there’s just more than one type of alpha out there.

Natasha and Jessica add:

We're still sore from the knock-down, drag-outs, but we finally have something to show for it!

Most In-Your-Face:

J: Curran from Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels series:

Talk about Alpha male, Curran is King….No, really! He’s the ruler of the shapeshifter community, and wanna guess what he shifts into? Yup, a lion. So “king” isn’t just a figure of speech, it’s his title, and believe me, he doesn’t let you forget it. I just love how he pushes all of Kate’s buttons. She’s such a strong female, but she loses her cool when Curran is involved. He demands so much face-time, Ilona even had to created a series of scenes from Curran's POV just to please him.

N: I’m going to have to disagree, and say Eric Northman from Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series. Eric makes no excuses for anything he’s done, even at the risk of losing Sookie or completely screwing her over. He has almost zero humanity left and simply doesn’t give a shit, so long as it keeps his vampires safe. Plus he owns a bar; it’s a win-win here, people.

[Pull up a barstool and join the fun!...]

Apr 23 2011 11:00am

Please Turn to Page 99: Romance and the Page 99 Test

Flip to the FutureCan romance survive the Page 99 Test?

I first encountered the Page 99 Test in one of those airline mags on a flight where I'd forgotten to bring enough reading material (I know!), and my literary Spidey senses starting tingling.

Lance Jones, Joanna Wiebe, and Steven Luke describe their idea thus: “Rather than judge a book by its cover, turn to page 99 and start reading…. Then answer two questions: Would you turn the page? And, how likely would you be to buy the book based on what you just read?”

[Would you click the link to read more...?]

Apr 7 2011 5:00pm

Fresh Meat: Jennifer Estep’s Tangled Threads (April 26, 2011)

Tangled Threads by Jennifer EstepJennifer Estep
Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin Series, Book 4)
Pocket, April 26, 2011 $7.99

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .

[Talk about your family drama!...]

Mar 9 2011 7:00pm

Paranormal Romance 2.0: Dark Romance

RoseYour heroine and the man of her dreams finally just came clean and professed their feelings for one another. Your heart is full, and you’re wondering how there’s going to be enough time for the steamy love scene you’ve been waiting for because there’s only about 3 pages left, but you’re hopeful. Then BAM, the vampire you thought your heroine took care of in the last chapter is alive and he injects her with a tiny dose of the serum she’s been working very hard to shelter from the public, and everything goes black. She wakes up to discover she has no idea who or where she is, or why this unfamiliar hot guy is asleep in the chair by her bed, and then the book is over. (Clearly this is my poorly executed attempt at creating a story from the bowels of my imagination . . . and this is why I leave the storytelling to the professionals.)

Had this story existed, it would have earned its place as an inductee into the newest genre of romance I’ve noticed, something I’m labeling Dark Romance. I’m seeing it bleed the lines between Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, even Sci-Fi Romance, and my twisted black heart couldn’t be happier. Lately, perhaps inexplicably, I’ve been more interested in the stories that make you work for that happy ending than in the tales that offer up the HEA without a lot of fuss.

[Welcome to the dark side . . .]