Sunday, June 30, 2013

Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean

Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
ebook: 272 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Samhain
Release date: February 5, 2012

Series: Secret McQueen #3

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The only good Secret is a buried Secret

Secret McQueen has hunted vampires, werewolves, and every conceivable supernatural menace-to-society. Seen it all? Not even close. When the queen of the were-ocelots comes to her for help finding a missing girl, the half-vampire/half-werewolf soon realizes how much she has to learn about the things that go bump in the night.

The case of the missing cat is one thing. Pile it up with her new duties as a Tribunal Leader, her tenuous position as mate to the king of the Eastern werewolves, and a slew of new (and unwelcome) supernatural abilities, and Secret is once again in familiar territory. Way over her head. But for this multitasking half-breed, it’s business as unusual.

What knocks her for a loop, though, isn’t her lover’s intoxicating kiss. It’s the missing memories rushing at her from out of nowhere, signaling a rapidly approaching fork in her destiny. Her choice will affect not only her life, but her love.

Warning: Contains a werewolf king with wandering hands, a creepy English professor with nefarious plans, and one hell of an unexpected gala evening at Columbia.

DEEP DARK SECRET is Secret McQueen's third novel-length adventure and Sierra Dean has upped the stakes on both the romantic and political front. The previous two novels have focussed primarily on vampire business and added some werewolf romance but DEEP DARK SECRET turns that formula on its head, with the politics being werewolf in nature. Lucas' territory is being encroached upon by Secret's family and it forces Lucas and Secret's relationship issues to the foreground of the novel. I've always found Lucas to be a bit high-handed and autocratic and I was none too pleased with his behaviour in DEEP DARK SECRET since he takes this behaviour to new levels. Thankfully, Secret doesn't take to this very well, which leads to some awkward but important conversations. She does, however, go along with some of the situations he creates for the good of the pack, which shows how much she's learned about her status in the pack and how her actions affect not only her own future but those of her packmates. It's great to see her becoming more aware of the bigger picture, but it would be nice if Lucas wasn't always forcing decisions on her. I hope that the next book, GRAVE SECRET, shows us a more considerate side of our determined werewolf king but I doubt it.

On the plus side, some of Secret's other relationships (romantic and otherwise) are not so fraught, which is good considering she has to find Genevieve's missing niece Lucy. The mission takes some interesting twists and turns and the series mythology expands to include previously undiscussed supernatural elements. The Big Bad is a type of monster common in urban fantasy and paranormal romance but Dean does a nice job of making it her own (and extremely icky). The climactic battle is really exciting and it has some nice surprising elements that I think everyone will enjoy.

We actually get to learn a lot about Secret's past because an ex-boyfriend features rather prominently in DEEP DARK SECRET. Secret's interactions with him give us a lot of insight into her character, and also highlight how much she's grown since we first met her. There was one reveal in particular that will likely have serious ramifications for the series, but it comes towards the end of the novel so I won't spoil it for you. You'll just have to read DEEP DARK SECRET for yourself if you're curious! :)

Though I didn't like DEEP DARK SECRET as much as the previous installments in the Secret McQueen series, it's still a fun, fast urban fantasy ride that delivers the level of action, humour, and sexiness I've come to expect from Sierra Dean. The characters continue to grow, Secret continues to kick butt and snark her way through all of her challenges, and her life gets ever more complicated. I can't begin to guess what might befall Secret next but I can't wait to read it!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Stacking The Shelves [62]

 
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
 
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
 
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Remember that upon the completion of our SS event, you can still enter all giveaways until July 5th! Thank you pubs, authors, and everyone else for making this event a success!
 
So, it's really awesome to be sitting here right now because last week...I graduated! I'm happy to say that I am officially a high school graduate, now a college student. Feels great not to have anymore homework! haha I originally had a video to share, but read the reasoning below as to why you can't see my graduation fun.
 
I actually had a vlog showcasing the three weeks worth of books that I have to share with you, but a thunderstorm cut out my electricity for about five minutes last night and it deleted my vlog. I'm sorry, cover photos will have to do! With that being said, this was a really amazing three weeks because so many surprises showed up on my doorstep!
 
For Review
Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols (blog tour on Lili's Reflections)
Vortex by S.J. Kincaid (Thank you, SJ!)
Taste Test by Kelly Fiore (Thank you Netgalley! Hello, Master Chef!)
The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce (Thank you for this murder mystery, Strange Chemistry!)
A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Thank you Harper for the ARC! Blog tour here at Tynga's Reviews on July 17th!
 
Trade via the YA Book Exchange
All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry (thank you, Becky!)
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (thank you, Christy!)
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (thank you, Christy!)

bound manuscript of The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I jumped for joy when this landed on my doorstep. You are so amazing Christina, thank you! <3

ARCycling
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
 
Gifted
Christina surprised me with these four beauties off of my TBR list alongside The Winner's Curse. Thank you again, girl <3 No idea these were coming!

The Heist Society by Ally Carter
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
From What I Remember... by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas
The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges
Have to find book one since I have yet to read it yet.

Bought
Losing It by Cora Carmack (on sale--amazing book!)
Suddenly Royal by Nicole Chase (on sale--read-a-thon with Christine! NA Princess Diaries)
Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund (free novella!)
 
Library
The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar (story just wasn't for me, did not like even though it has genies!)
Shadowlands by Kate Brian 

Borrowed from Friends
Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines (Thank you, Jennifer!)
Never Too Far by Abbi Glines (Thank you, Christy!)
Going to be honest and say these books disappointed me in every imaginable way after all the hype surrounding them. Did not like this new adult series, at all.

My First Ever Acknowledgment
In 2012, I reviewed SANCTUM by Sarah Fine here on Tynga's Reviews. If not for me joining this blog tour, I would never have gotten as close to Sarah as I have. I'm very proud to call her a friend. And I'm even more amazed that she decided to put me in the acknowledgement section of book two, FRACTURED. When I noticed this in my ARC, I did the world's biggest happy dance! Thank you, Sarah! And for those of you who have not read this series, I highly suggest it!
 

Bloggers Mentioned
Christina at The Reader of Fictions 
Becky at Stories and Sweeties
Christy at Christy's Book Addiction
ARCycling 
YA Book Exchange

What did YOU add to your shelves?
 
 

Friday, June 28, 2013

SS: Interview with Nalini Singh + Giveaway

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To close the event, I’m super happy to receive best-selling author extraordinaire, Nalini Singh! It’s always such a pleasure to have her on the blog and we had to invite to celebrate the recent release of Heart of Obsidian. Please welcome her warmly!

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1- Long-time reader and huge fan of the series are on pins and needles for HEART OF OBSIDIAN. How does it feel to have a book this hotly anticipated? What's your favorite scene from the book?

I'm delighted readers continue to enjoy the series! I truly love the world and its characters, and it's wonderful to know that readers feel the same.
As for my favorite scene...oooh, that's hard to choose, but one of my favorites is a flashback scene. I can't say exactly what it's about without giving too much away, but it makes me smile every single time I read it. 

2- From the entire series, which character was your favorite to write and why?

I absolutely can't choose - I love all my characters and find it so hard to compare them to each other. Some have appeared more in the series than others, but they all have a powerful role to play, not only in their own books but in the overall story arc.

3- If you could borrow another author's character and throw them into the Psy/Changeling world, who would you pick and why?

For me, the mark of a good book is that the characters fit absolutely into that world. As such, to tear them out and put them into another world simply wouldn't work - and I would never do that to characters about whom I love to read.

4- Will you ever write a book that pairs two Psy together now that Silence is fracturing for more and more people?

A Psy-Psy story or stories, has always been part of my plan for the series.

5-  Once fans have devoured HEART OF OBSIDIAN, will we have more questions or more answers? 

You'll have a lot of answers, and one big question resulting from the final events that take place in the story.

6- Will Vasic get his own story soon? You've said before it wasn't his time. Is his time soon? He's so interesting!!

Wait and see ;-) (He's in HEART OF OBSIDIAN quite a lot.)

7- Does the summer solstice means anything to as race as stoic as the Psy? What about the Changeling?

Not to the Psy, and the changelings are always in sync with nature, so the rhythm of the world is part of their very blood.

8- Do you have a personal tidbit to share in relation with midsummer?

While you're having midsummer, we're having midwinter over in the Southern Hemisphere! People have been known to celebrate Midwinter Christmas. :-)

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Thank you very much Nalini for taking the time to visit and answering our burning questions!

More about Hearts of Obsidian:

Heart of Obsidian  (Psy-Changeling, #12)

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

 

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Previous books in the series:

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Cha... Visions of Heat (Psy-Change...Caressed By Ice (Psy-Change...Mine to Possess (Psy-Change...Hostage to Pleasure (Psy-Ch...Branded by Fire (Psy-Change...

Blaze of Memory (Psy-Change...Bonds of Justice (Psy-Chang...Play of Passion (Psy-Change...Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling, #10)Wild Invitation (Psy-Change...Tangle of Need (Psy-Changel...

 giveaway

Nalini is generously offering a signed hardcover edition of Kiss of Snow to one lucky winner!

open internationally

Fill the form to enter!

Ends July 5th, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Nalini SinghI was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.”

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 tynsig

Thursday, June 27, 2013

SS: Interview with Jamie Quaid + Giveaway!

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Today I am super happy to have author Jamie Quaid by my side. Her Saturn’s Daughter series rocked my world and I’m glad that she accepted to join us to celebrate the release of the second book, Damn Him to Hell! Make sure to stick around for a giveaway at the end!
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1- I really like the first novel in the series, Boyfriend From Hell, and I'm sure everyone would like to know if the second installment, Damn Him to Hell will be just as funny and action-packed?

Thank you, kindly! I’d like to believe it’s funny and action-packed-- I certainly notch the action up another level. But humor is in the eye of the beholder, so unless you know you like frog humor, you’ll have to answer that one for me after you read it.

2- How would you describe the main characters to someone who's unfortunate enough to not have read the first book?

Does bizarre, insane, lusty, and concerned cover it? <G> Tina—she of the weird Saturnian abilities— is obsessed with justice, and not precisely in the legal, rational manner of the lawyer she is. Then we have the invisible gay teenager, the snake-producing investigator, the handsome US Senator returned from hell, and Andre—the gorgeous but seriously freaky and paranoid Special Ops hunk. Just your usual chemically-polluted neighborhood.

3- You remained pretty hazy on the Gods mythology in BFH, will we finally learn more about it and Clancy's abilities?

Tina won’t come into her full abilities until her 28th year, so she’s still learning what she’s capable of and really starting to worry herself. She develops a few more serious quirks this time around (frogs are involved!), and reaches out to another Saturn’s daughter. The problem is that Saturn’s daughters are so busy staying alive that they really don’t have time to write down what they learn.  It takes time to research a mythology no one is telling them about—and granny still isn’t too helpful. But it’s looking like whole new dimensions are involved…literally.

Let me ask this of your readers…what would you like to see happen? Do you really want a god to step down out of heavens with a rule book? Or do you want the Daughters to be their own force?

4- Andre turned out to be one of my favorite characters, will we get to know him more in book 2?

Oh YEAH! Andre gets in way over his pretty head this time around, and we learn a little more about those dimensions I mentioned…  He’s just a bit more than an all-around, average guy.

5- The folks in The Zone are pretty weird, do you think they'd be the kind to celebrate the summer solstice?

They’re mostly a pretty cynical lot, and the solstice is about celebrating life, not hell—which kind of haunts our polluted neighborhood—but if you can show them a good reason to celebrate, they’re all over it. Can the gargoyles come, too?

6- Have you ever attended this kind of celebration yourself?

Let’s just say I’ve created my own bonfires a few times and not go into details, okay?

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Thank you so much Jamie for stopping by <3 It’s always such a pleasure to have you on board!

More about Damn Him to Hell:

Damn Him to Hell

Justice is blind. Justine isn’t. Book two in the Saturn's Daughter series, in which Tina Clancy is gifted with the power to dispense justice...for good or evil.

Tina Clancy is adapting to her new life as one of Saturn’s Daughters while living in the toxic part of Baltimore known as The Zone, and occasionally acting as a champion of the downtrodden, the weird, the innocent...and the sometimes not-so-innocent.

Just when she finally lands a real law job, the Zone is blasted by poisonous gas and her sometimes-boyfriend starts receiving visitors from Hell. He’s none too pleased about that, or in Tina having sent his granny to Hell in his place. For that matter, neither is granny…

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Previous books in the series:

Boyfriend from Hell (Saturn's Daughter, #1)

giveaway_thumb[2]

Jamie is generously offering  2 copies of Damn Him to Hell to 2 lucky winners!

Open internationally

Fill the form to enter, ends July 5th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Patricia Rice“As a fan of urban fantasy and kick-ass heroines, I’ve often wondered why we’re drawn to fangs and fur when there are so many grim realities our heroines can conquer.  While pondering the possibilities of fighting evil in a real world, I created Justine Clancy, a woman who has fought the bullies of the world all her life, without realizing she was pre-destined to be an arbiter of justice—until she accidentally sends her lying boyfriend to hell. And the devil handsomely rewards her.

But along with power must come knowledge—and for Tina, that includes learning not only the difference between good and evil, but all the shades of gray in between. Because sending the wrong people to the Underworld could have grave consequences, literally. But not doing her job can hurt the people who have taken her in and accepted her. For the first time in her life, she has a home, but it’s going to require a whole lot of housecleaning to drive out the demons hiding there.”(source)

Website | Facebook | Twitter

tynsig_thumb[1]

Damn Him to Hell by Jamie Quaid

Damn Him to Hell (Saturn's Daughter, #2)

Damn Him to Hell by Jamie Quaid

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release date: June 25, 2013

Series: Saturn's Daughter #2

Source: Edelweiss

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Justice is blind. Justine isn’t. Book two in the Saturn's Daughter series, in which Tina Clancy is gifted with the power to dispense justice...for good or evil.

Tina Clancy is adapting to her new life as one of Saturn’s Daughters while living in the toxic part of Baltimore known as The Zone, and occasionally acting as a champion of the downtrodden, the weird, the innocent...and the sometimes not-so-innocent.

Just when she finally lands a real law job, the Zone is blasted by poisonous gas and her sometimes-boyfriend starts receiving visitors from Hell. He’s none too pleased about that, or in Tina having sent his granny to Hell in his place. For that matter, neither is granny…

Clancy finally managed to bring back her late boyfriend from hell but it didn’t quite go as planned. His soul his now in his evil cousin’s body and to say it complicates things is an understatement. Unfortunately, there are bigger problems to deal with. Acme, the chemical plant, released a green with pink sparkles gas onto the zone. Driving people to great violence followed by a coma, the gas, and its victims, is Clancy’s main concern. But how can one little lawyer shutdown a big company such as Acme?

I really liked Boyfriend from Hell, but I have to confess I have mixed feelings about this second instalment. Maybe it suffers from the ‘second-book-curse’? I’ll start with the elements I liked. First, I still like the world, and the ghetto that is the zone. It’s originality still commands attention and I enjoyed it. Also, the characters I came to love are still very much present and their sense of humour is as ironic as ever, kudos Jaime. And last, I love Clancy’s dedication to everyone from the zone and I command her for it!

Now onto the aspects I liked less. First, I feel like everything is at a standstill. The novel is action filled and Justina is focused on stopping acme and curing the ‘zombies’, as she call ‘em. While this is all good and well, it prevented overall story progress. What I mean is, by the end of the novel, we still don’t know much more about Justina’s powers, the rules surrounding them or their origins. Also, while we now know how Andre gets impressions from the future, he is still very mysterious. And lastly, their is no progress what so over in the romantic aspect of the story. Clancy is no closer to choosing between Leo or Andre, and the standstill is frustrating. In summary, the plot arc of the novel progressed smoothly, but the arc of the series feels stationary.

Another aspect that bothered me was the constant repetition. In this novel, Justina is resolute to control her emotions and think through before she damns anyone to hell. While this maturity is welcome, she mentions it every chapters or so. I felt like, ‘ok we got it, no need to keep repeating over and over again’. It really annoyed me and I hope this issue won’t be redundant in the next novel.

All in all, Damn Him to Hell is a good but flawed sequel to a series that started great. It’s an interesting and highly original urban fantasy and I still suggest you give it try.

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