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Feb
22

Spotlight: Geeky Giving

Spotlight: Geeky Giving What is Geeky Giving? Each month Geeky Giving will produce a bundle of exclusive short stories and novellas. These science fiction and fantasy books by your favorite authors will only be available through Geeky Giving, and 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to Barrow Neurological Institute to research cures for Alzheimer’s, ALS, brain tumors, Parkinson’s Disease, and more. The first monthly bundle will be available starting Feb. 22, 2016, and will be delivered as a thank you for making a donation of at least $5. Know you’re going to want all four bundles? A $25 donation to Barrow scores you every monthly bundle. At the end of this project, there are plans to create a complete anthology of all stories with a special capstone story not available anywhere else. Print and e-book copies will be available. Authors who are already contributing stories to this great cause include: A.C. Wise Amanda Bonilla Edward Ashton Heather Clithroe James Knapp Jeff Somers JY Yang Karina Cooper Mary Robinette Kowal Michael J. Martinez Robert Lowell Russell Shaun David Hutchinson Sierra Dean Each bundle will also feature original cover art created just for this project, including works from Jessica Robinson and Sal V. Cloak. In addition, you’ll have a chance to win amazing swag including: Phoenix Comicon full event passes, signed books from Kelley Armstrong, Michelle Belanger, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Diana Gabaldon, Kevin Hearne, Kameron Hurley, Helen Lowe, Chloe Neill, Delia Sherman, Chuck Wendig and so much more! Learn more about Geeky Giving at http://www.geekygiving.org Donate directly to the cause via https://www.supportbarrow.org/geekygiving Geeky Giving February 2016 Book Bundle Geeky Giving is proud to share it’s first monthly book bundle featuring original science fiction and fantasy works by bright stars within the genre fiction community. In the February bundle you’ll find two novelettes and two short stories and a whole lot of awesome. From the consequences of targeting a virus carrier to ghostly connections to a fantasy quest to appease the moon to the possibility of going full Cylon and body hopping. The bundle will be available on Feb. 22, 2016, and includes: “Some Other Day” by Mary Robinette Kowal “The True Story of the Unsmiling Moon” by Karina Cooper writing as K.C. Alexander “Backup” by Edward Ashton “Ghosts of the Motor City” by Sierra Dean Would you love to read these stories? Securing your copy of the Geeky Giving February 2016 Bundle is easy. Make a donation to the Geeky Giving project...
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Feb
17

Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep

Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep Bitter Bite Author: Jennifer Estep Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Note: this review contains spoilers from the end of the previous book, Spider’s Trap. Finding out that her foster brother, Finn’s mother is alive after believing she was dead his whole life, Gin debates on how to best share the news with Finn. However, mommy-dearest doesn’t stay away from Ashland for long, and soon Gin must figure out what Deirdre is up to before she destroys Finn in the process of her latest scheme. Yet, maybe for once, Gin’s suspicions aren’t well-founded, and Finn will finally have the mother he’s longed for his entire life. Nah… Gin’s always right, isn’t she? Bitter Bite is the fourteenth title in the always exciting Elemental Assassin series. The books blend action and adventure with smart plot development and amazing storytelling, to give readers a thrilling ride. I honestly love each book, and Bitter Bite is on par with its companion stories. However, reading it was so stressful: in my head, I knew everything *should* work out in the end, but while reading, I was worried what the cost would be to Gin – physically, mentally, emotionally.  Ms. Estep keeps her stories fresh and entertaining, even though each book tends to have a few repetitive qualities. What I love is that in Bitter Bite, Ms. Estep actually brings up Gin’s predictability in a clever, round about way. And I sincerely hope it gives Gin pause in the future as she contends with a new big bad, introduced at the end of the book. I will admit that about one-third of the way thought the book, I started having doubts as I witnessed Finn ignore Gin’s concerns over his mother suddenly appearing back in Ashland. I thought to myself, not again – we’ve been through this before, most recently with Owen. But once again, Ms. Estep takes something obvious and puts a unique spin on the story. I loved that she addresses my concerns via a wonderful scene involving Owen and Finn, and later in the story, when Finn and Gin have a heart-to-heart. Similarly, what could have been a repeat of a robbery scene from a previous book was taken to a whole new level in Bitter Bite. What I love most about this series, and what made Bitter Bite all the more (better), is watching Gin grow and mature over the course of fourteen titles. It’s amazing to...
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Feb
16

Review + Giveaway: How the Cookie Crumbles by Jaime Samms

Review + Giveaway: How the Cookie Crumbles by Jaime Samms How the Cookie Crumbles Author: Jaime Samms Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Having survived an adolescence filled with loss and uncertainty, Frederick Jackson thought he’d seen his share of heartache. But, being betrayed by the man he’d grown to care for—along with getting cheated out of a well-earned win on a popular cooking show—proved him wrong. Running away to build his dream in the small town of Bluewater Bay seemed like a great idea. At least, until his past not only catches up with him, but moves in across the street. Blaire Caruthers might have been raised by a domineering, unscrupulous father, but now all he wants to do is escape the man’s control and right the wrongs of the past. Of course, winning back the man he sold out for a flashy diversion and higher ratings is at the top of his list. But, no matter how deeply he regrets the harm he’s caused, Blaire learns that trust broken isn’t easily restored, and that some battles simply aren’t his to fight, much less win. Not surprisingly, I found Frederick to be the easier of the two main characters to like. He’s a survivor, and he inspires a fierce loyalty in those who know and love him. He’s also thoughtful, compassionate, shy, determined—nearly perfect as sympathetic characters go. Far from being predictable or two-dimensional, however, Frederick is also fighting a very personal demon of his own, the nature of which the author allows to build gradually, until I felt like I could truly appreciate the scope of what Frederick is constantly battling. Blaire, on the other hand, I absolutely loathed by the second chapter. His shared history with Frederick ensured my opinion of him as the “bad guy,” an impression that took quite some time to reverse. He has no excuses, but, to his credit, Blaire doesn’t really try to make any. He wants another chance, even though he knows he doesn’t deserve it. Still, if it’s possible to earn forgiveness, then he does about as well as anyone in his situation could. Though he makes mistakes, he comes through for Frederick when he needs him most, which went a long way towards winning me back over. In the end, I couldn’t help but wish that everything would work out for Blaire as much as Frederick. The Bluewater Bay series has provided some wonderfully memorable characters, and this addition is no exception. I’m always excited when...
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Jan
29

Review + Giveaway: Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter

Review + Giveaway: Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter Blood in Her Veins Author: Faith Hunter Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Although my initial experience with the Jane Yellowrock series was something of a challenge, it has since become one of my all-time favorites. As much as the series has grown, novel by novel, there has always been room for more: the personal history of the characters, the addition of a curtain call for some of the stories, contributions to other anthologies, and so on. With the publication of Blood in Her Veins, Ms. Hunter has been remarkably generous in her willingness to give her readers what they’ve asked for by gathering all of these glimpses into Jane’s world in one place. Having already seen some of these short stories, I was very excited to be able to read them all together. Each one serves a specific purpose, including giving fans of the series the opportunity to witness events from other characters’ perspectives, providing background information and clues to why they are the way they are, as well as offering insight into Jane’s own emotions and development, thereby making her even more intriguing. While plenty of Ms. Hunter’s characters take the stage in Blood in Her Veins, I was particularly fond of the scenes told from Bruiser’s point of view. As a long-term Bruiser supporter, I found these to be an especially nice treat. Not just another compilation, Blood in Her Veins showcases two new stories by Ms. Hunter, Cat Fight and Bound No More. In Cat Fight, Jane is once again obligated to visit Bayou Oiseau, Louisiana to broker another agreement between the local witches and vampires (since the first one apparently didn’t stick). I found nearly all of these characters to be highly entertaining, especially given their collective ability to shift between humorous and a little terrifying with whiplash-inducing rapidity. Throw in a disturbingly adept mud demon—thing—and this story was a lot of fun. In Bound No More, Jane’s beloved god-daughter, “Angie Baby,” proves that she’s much more powerful than anyone has ever suspected, and far too powerful for her own good. Although Jane & Co. have a monster to fight, I found the true horror to be Jane and Molly’s easily justifiable fear of the predatory groups would seek to use Angelina’s gifts for their own purposes. This story has quite a few sweet moments as well, however, and might be one of my favorites to date. Blood in Her Veins is...
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Jan
26

Review + Giveaway: Extreme Honor by Piper J. Drake

Review + Giveaway: Extreme Honor by Piper J. Drake Extreme Honor Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewer: Una Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Extreme Honor is the exciting debut novel in the True Heroes series.  I enjoyed the captivating story of David, Lyn, and Atlas. Suffice to say, I can’t wait for more in this gripping series that combines hot military men, their loyal canine companions, and the women they love. This novel sets up Hope’s Crossing Kennel, where David works with two other ex-military men.  They train dogs for anything from basic house pets to military working dogs and in between.  Atlas, a Belgian Malinois, has been returned to David to rehabilitate. Atlas, a military multipurpose dog, is mourning the loss of his handler, Calhoun, who happens to be a friend of David’s and who died overseas.  It seems he was killed in a friendly fire accident, but David doesn’t believe the story that is being told and knows that Atlas holds the key.  Figuring out the truth and avenging his friend is something David is determined to find out.  However, his life is complicated by Lyn, a contractor sent to assist with the rehabilitation of Atlas.  David instantly resents Lyn’s presence while Lyn is hell-bent on helping Atlas heal.  However, when Atlas shows the first sign of life by acknowledging Lyn’s presence, he has no choice but to let her help.  But by letting her help, it seems she is placed in the cross hairs of those that killed David’s friend, and she may be next. I really enjoyed the chemistry between David and Lyn.  Though their romance moved fast, I liked that they did have time to get to know each other.  David is very patient though determined.  Lyn has a good heart and tries to think things through.  Though she sometimes thinks herself in circles, I could completely relate to her inner monologue.  However, she does have a habit of being a bit spontaneous and headstrong.  Because we are given both David and Lyn’s point of view, it made their journey so much more compelling.  Both Lyn and David have their own issues that affect how they see each other, especially long term.  Therefore their HEA was even more meaningful as they came together. I especially liked that David’s demons were not overplayed but something that he had already dealt with. The overall plot of Calhoun’s death and the fate of Atlas was gripping.  The conspiracy was interesting and the twist at the end...
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Jan
20

Author Guest Post: J. Johanis + Giveaway

Author Guest Post: J. Johanis + Giveaway M/M Reading Life Hacks My journey into reading m/m started with Anne Rice, but now that I’ve discovered the massive body of m/m books available, I naturally want to read them all. Of course there are limitations to reading everything, both in terms of time and money. Since I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s run into such roadblocks, I’ve decided to share some life hacks that can help you read more with fewer constraints. First of all, with respect to time, eBooks have opened up plenty of opportunities, but there are two big time savers that are quite significant. One is audio books, which are limited and costly, and the other is text-to-speech, which works with almost every book. Both allow readers to digest more books without having to dedicate exclusive time to sitting down to read the old fashion way. Personally, I listen to books while I do housework, while driving, and while shopping. I’ve met others who work on crafts and art projects while listening to their favorite authors. I’m not sure about other devices, but Amazon has a text-to-speech option on all Kindle Fires, and the only way it won’t work is if an author has opted out. If you’re not sure how to turn on text-to-speech on your device, the best thing is to call Amazon and they are really good about helping you locate it. Now that you’ve discovered a few tricks to having time to read, here are some ways to have unlimited m/m without severely damaging your pocket book. First of all there are many freebies available online. You just need to know where to find them. A good place to start is Goodreads. The M/M Romance Group has writing events and publishes large volumes of m/m novellas and stories that are absolutely free. There is so much to read that I haven’t even made a dent in it. Additionally, there are lists on Goodreads that have unpublished books along with the links to the download. Another great way to find freebies is to set up an alert on eReader IQ. This tool notifies you about price drops on Amazon for authors and books you are looking for. If you’re like me and you’ve identified some favorite authors, you might want to read everything new they put out. The good news is that there are several ways to read new releases without investing a fortune. The first thing you should...
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Jan
19

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: The Sutherlands Anthology

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: The Sutherlands Anthology Pre-Order The Sutherlands For Only 99¢ & Help The Reach Out & Read Charity Looking for a way to do good and read hot? Check out The Sutherlands, a sexy contemporary romance anthology that tells the story of one family with 11 brand-new, full-length novels and novellas for only 99¢. Twenty percent of the royalties earned from each sale will go to the Reach Out & Read charity, which incorporates early childhood reading into well child doctors’ visits. About the Book: Inside The Sutherlands you’ll find: Shadow Ranch by USA Today best selling author Robin Covington – Passion and secrets thrive in the dark… Wrecked by Wall Street Journal best selling author Terri Osburn – Revenge is always personal… Bound To Do Damage by Avril Ashton – When protecting you heart is no longer an option…protect your neck. Foolish Expectations by Alison Bliss – Forever is the last thing they expected… Under the Evening Star by Shyla Colt – They must choose between the past that hunts and a love that can heal… Brazen by Avery Flynn – This bad boy boxer just met his match… Screwed by Kelly Jamieson – The only time losing is more fun than winning is when you’re fighting temptation… Stripped by Abby Niles – She’s going to strip him bare… Not the Marrying Kind by Julie Particka – Faking it never felt so good… Lust and Loathing by Joya Ryan – Sometimes loathing your boss turns into the best kind of lust… Sweet Surrender by Naima Simone – The price of surrender is passion… Twenty percent of the royalties earned from each copy of The Sutherlands sold will go to help Reach Out and Read, a non-profit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. About Reach Out and Read This year, over one million children in the U.S. will enter kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn and succeed. As these children progress through school, they are more likely to fall behind, and stay behind. When families read aloud to their young children, they can give them a better start to life. With unparalleled access to families with young children, Reach Out and Read medical providers give books to children at more than 10 well-child visits from infancy until they start school. More importantly, they encourage families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers...
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Dec
23

Review + Blog Tour: Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux

Review + Blog Tour: Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux Part & Parcel Author: Abigail Roux Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: After months of concern over so many beloved characters, and successfully avoiding all of the spoilers I possibly could, I was very pleased to discover that Part & Parcel ended up being even more wonderful than I had anticipated. Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott have been favorites of mine for ages, and the introduction of the Sidewinder stories helped ease the distress that accompanied the ending of the Cut & Run series, which I have always loved tremendously. Kelly and Nick are absolutely perfect for each other, and, while I’ve always wanted them to be happy, there was never any doubt that their path would be a difficult one. Though it is told primarily from Nick and Kelly’s perspectives, Part & Parcel is inarguably an ensemble effort. All of the surviving members of Sidewinder (and Zane) share a good amount of screen time once their (literal) journey begins—a facet of the novel that was welcome after having just said goodbye to them after Crash & Burn earlier this year. Zane, in particular, even shares narrating duties, which proved to be a very effective way of making me feel like a participant in the narrative, not merely an observer. One of the things that makes Part & Parcel unique is the combination of flashbacks and shifting narrators, along with the humor and answering sweetness and melancholy inspired by Elias Sanchez’s missives, that make up the entirety of the story. The team’s memories and Eli’s own words comfortably fade back and forth from one to the other, effectively transforming the ghost of a man who’s haunted these characters since Cut & Run into a real person within Part & Parcel’s pages. The result is that the audience is able to get to know Elias Sanchez over the course of the team’s journey, just as Zane, who is the “outsider” of the group, does. Ms. Roux is notorious for torturing her characters, and she does an especially thorough job of it in Part & Parcel. Nick and Kelly have been together long enough at this point that the issues they haven’t dealt with yet become a serious problem over the course of the story. Every single one of these men have a lot of lingering darkness from their time in service, as well as many events that followed, but poor Nick is positively drowning in it. On the...
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Dec
18

Mistletoe Madness 2015: Katie Reus

Mistletoe Madness 2015: Katie Reus Thank you for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About for today’s Mistletoe Madness spot. This year’s event is hosted by Blogging by Liza, Books Make Me Happy, and That’s What I’m Talking About. It’s is a two week event where authors with 2015 winter releases (November 2015 — January 2016) will take over our blogs with guest posts written from one of their character’s POV with a holiday theme (Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, New Years, etc.). For a line up of all of the authors featured at all three blogs, please click on the image above or go to the kickoff post from December 1, 2015. Today’s Mistletoe Madness author is… Katie Reus Book: All He Wants for Christmas Release Date: December 1, 2015 Series: Multi-Author Anthology Thanks so much to Jen for having me here today! I’m a teeny bit obsessed with Christmas time and listen to Christmas music all year. My little one is now old enough that he realizes that’s not normal and likes to tell me “you’re so weird mommy” even as he sings along to Jingle Bells in July. I definitely don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas decorations and we have… usually 4-5 trees. Maybe more this year. So when the anthology group I’m part of started talking about doing a Christmas anthology I was in heaven. All He Wants for Christmas is 6 all new stories, all set in the fictional town of Holly, NC, where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. Today my heroine Nora is taking over to let you know one of her favorite recipes (it’s easy!). From Nora (Merry Christmas, Baby) When my sister and I moved to Holly, NC, a place where it’s Christmas year round I wasn’t sure what to expect. Because when we were growing up, our mom hated the holidays. It made the season a little depressing. Now that I own a bookstore/coffee shop right off Main Street in the most festive town in the country, it’s hard not to get into the spirit. But my knowledge of Christmas movies was sorely lacking until I met and fell for sexy, former SEAL Jackson O’Connor. He’s assured me that the best Christmas movies are: A Christmas Story Elf Die Hard Turns out he’s right, though his obsession with Die Hard is a little frightening. Since movie time isn’t complete without snacks I introduced him to candy cane cocoa. He was more interested in getting creative with the whipped cream—and I didn’t...
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Dec
16

Mistletoe Madness 2015: Jessica Jarman

Mistletoe Madness 2015: Jessica Jarman Thank you for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About for today’s Mistletoe Madness spot. This year’s event is hosted by Blogging by Liza, Books Make Me Happy, and That’s What I’m Talking About. It’s is a two week event where authors with 2015 winter releases (November 2015 — January 2016) will take over our blogs with guest posts written from one of their character’s POV with a holiday theme (Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, New Years, etc.). For a line up of all of the authors featured at all three blogs, please click on the image above or go to the kickoff post from December 1, 2015. Today’s Mistletoe Madness author is… Jessica Jarman Book: Safeword Protected Release Date: December 2015 Series: Bound #6 A Note From Clara Merry Christmas! Now, me? I don’t do holidays. Haven’t since my parents died. That sounds pretty sad and pathetic, doesn’t it? But it’s really not. I’m not sitting around crying into my cocoa come Christmas or anything. No, I’m usually at a fabulous resort, sipping a fruity drink poolside, and I have no problems with that. I make sure to call the family I have left—my cousins, aunts and uncles in Ireland—and always send my gifts so they have them Christmas morning. And that has been enough for me. But the coming Christmas, I don’t have a choice. I’ll be doing holidays with the family. My cousin, Maire, is having a baby, and I’ve promised to take some time off and be there for the birth and, since she’s due in November, for the baby’s first Christmas. How do you say no to a pregnant woman, especially when you love her more than life and she turns on the tears? You can’t. Or at least I can’t. While I’m sort of excited—reconnecting with Maire alone makes any promise worth it—knowing what’s coming is making me think back to Christmases with Mum and Dad. Even though it had just been the three of us, there’d been so much laughter and love. Messing around in the kitchen, helping Mum make plum pudding. I could still hear her tinkling laugh that always came when I asked, every single year, why it was called plum pudding when not a single plum was in the thing. I could see Dad’s grinning face as he lit the brandy and poured it over the pudding. I wonder if Maire’s mum uses the same recipe, or if they even have the same tradition of making it every Christmas. If...
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