Bout-of-Books 8.0 Wrap-up

boutofbooks1Blog1 of these days I’m going to talk to Amanda and Kelly about having t-shirts printed that state ‘I Survived Bout-of-Books.’ I think that they’d go over big, don’t you?

So yes, I survived Bout-of-Books 8.0. If you saw my Goals post you know that I took the ‘no Goals’ approach this time. It worked well for me during Bout-of-Books 7.0 and even though I didn’t read quite as much this time, I still think that it worked better than trying to reach a specific number.

So, how did I do? Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I had a total of 12 books on my list. I knew I wouldn’t read them all, but I love to have plenty to choose from and I had some excellent choices. I ended up finishing 4 books and reading a total of 1453 pages. Yay! Here’s my completed list:

  1. The Shadow of Mudflap (Foxtrot Team #1) by Christi Snow (215 Pages)
  2. Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin #8)* by Jennifer Estep (404 Pages)
  3. Sacrificed in Shadow (Ascension #1) by S.M. Reine (290 Pages)
  4. Carnipunk: Parlor Tricks Elemental Assassin #8.1) by Jennifer Estep (45 pages)
  5. Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen
    (703 Pages – Completed 499 pages during Bout-of-Books)

As for my other ‘goals’ – I reviewed every book as it was read. Attempted to participate in as many Twitter chats as I could (basically I just sat back and watched the mayhem happen.) I visited a couple of new blogs and I participated in one mini challenge and I loved it! I also read one book in a new series that made me realize that I need to go back and pick up all the books in the author’s previous series so I can play catch-up. I love adding books to my TBR pile! All in all I’d say this was an amazing Bout-of-Books!

Now that it’s over my creative fun starts 😉 I get to have team up with the Grand Prize Winner to help her create some awesome new graphics for her blog. Elizabeth @ Nightmare on Bookstreet and I are going to have lots of fun! Stay tuned!

So how about you? Did you survive Bout-of-Books 8.0? I’d love to hear about it 😉

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By creativedeeds

Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen / Bout-of-Books 8.0 Review

AwakeningFosterKellyIf only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness are just the tip of it. At the age of five when Foster is told, “You don’t belong here,” it was only a mistake, but the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High-school—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what she believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere—or with anyone. 
This reality would continue to suit her just fine; however . . . Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.
Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying . . . a secret capable of certain ruin. Either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.
In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Okay, I have to be totally honest here. When I first looked at the synopsis of this book I was intrigued. It didn’t sound like the average angst/drama filled contemporary YA book that I avoid at all costs. It sounded really interesting and fun. Then I looked at the page count…. 702 pages is A LOT of book. As daunting as that number was, I really wanted to see if the book was as intriguing as the synopsis. Guess what? It was even better. Not only did I not mind that Awakening Foster Kelly was twice as long as most of the books that I’ve read this year, once I got to the end I would have been perfectly content reading more.

Foster was an amazing character. She was mature way beyond her years. To say she had low self esteem wouldn’t even come close to describing what she thought of herself. She wasn’t self destructive or self loathing though. In her mind, she was just being totally honest. She didn’t matter in the scheme of things and she was ignored because no one saw her. She was perfectly content with that though. If she didn’t interact with anyone, there was no one to disappoint, including herself. Watching this beautiful young woman blossom was just part of what made Awakening Foster Kelly such a great YA read.

The supporting characters in this book were so full of life. Foster’s parents were adoring and as important as their jobs were, their world revolved around Foster. The interactions between them were priceless. They weren’t perfect parents, but that made me love them even more. Foster’s devotion to them was equal to their devotion to her.

Foster’s friends were just as interesting – not to mention fun. I don’t know the last time I read a more entertaining banter and interaction between siblings than there was between Jake and Emily. From the time they were introduced I fell in love with them. They were supportive, loving and protective of each other and they shared that love and devotion with Foster.

And then there was Dominic. I wasn’t sure how to take him at first. You’ll understand once you read the book. His introduction was not impressive, still, you just knew that there was more to him. Once I got to know him though, I loved him as much as Foster did. It was impossible not to. His story, once it was finally revealed, totally broke my heart. There were a couple of times that I thought I had Dominic figured out, but I wasn’t even close. That was a common theme in this book.

I can honestly say that I could never have figured out the way this story eventually unfolded. Beyond being beautifully descriptive and filled with wit, humor, heartbreak and hope, the twists and turns that Awakening Foster Kelly took are jaw dropping. I NEVER saw it coming and once it did I felt like going back and reading chapters and sequences over again to see if I missed a clue. Of course there were some, but still nothing that would have prepared me for where this story ended.  There were times that I thought that scenes didn’t make sense or they were disjointed, but once ALL of the secrets were revealed, everything just fit. I applaud Cara Rosalie Olsen for catching me so off guard. I loved it!

Awakening Foster Kelly is so much more than a coming of age novel. It’s a story of finding yourself, accepting who that person is and realizing you’re worth just as much, if not more than the people you ultimately put ahead of yourself.  You never see yourself as others see you. That can be both good and bad depending on who you are. There are lessons within these pages for both young and old alike. Foster Kelly came a long way during the course of this book and I really enjoyed taking that journey with her.

DragonFlyRating4

By creativedeeds

Beats – Book 2 in Kendall Grey’s Hard Rock Harlots Series is Live!

Alright readers, it’s confession time. I have yet to start this series. However, I have no qualms at all about promoting it. Why? Because I’ve been reading Kendall Grey’s Just Breathe series and that was enough to convince me that whatever this author writes, I will read. Seriously. Her writing is raw (in a very good, intense, honest and real way), emotional, witty, hot and addicting. And yes, the warning below is real, so pay attention. Check out the blurb, chase down the series and use the links to stalk away. Kendall won’t mind, she actually encourages it. 😉

Beats_200X300WARNING: BEATS is specially formulated for horn dogs, porn oglers, smut peddlers, BDSM junkies, M/M and M/M/F addicts, DP dabblers, body modification connoisseurs, and lovers of A2M backdoor sexy times. If you don’t fall into these categories, can’t stomach hot man-on-man action, or if you have no idea what the above acronyms mean, please back away from BEATS now. This isn’t the book you’re looking for. Failure to heed this warning could inadvertently throw unauthorized users into a persistent vegetative state, or at the very least, require administration of a defibrillator to the chest and/or groin area. Nobody wants that.

For months, shy drummer Jinx Hardwick has been silently crushing on her tall, dark, and scary bandmate, Toombs Badcock. Drawn to his frightening ink and scars, she yearns to uncover the shadowy secrets lurking behind his silver eyes, but Jinx is too intimidated to even look at him, let alone talk to him. When she stumbles upon Toombs and their manipulative lead guitarist Rax in a compromising position, Jinx realizes her chances of winning Toombs’s heart aren’t just a long shot—they’re nonexistent. To make matters worse, Jinx’s family needs her at home. She’s about to back away from it all—Toombs, the band, her dreams of fame and fortune—when Rax makes her an offer she can’t refuse: a no-holds-barred night alone with Toombs. There’s one small catch. She has to go through Rax to get it.

Meet Kendall…

Kendall Grey is the self-appointed past, present, and future president of the Authors Behaving Badly Club. A whale warrior and indie freedom fighter, she spends summers in the corner (usually with a dunce cap on her head) and winters hunched at the peak of Mt. Trouble, fiery pens of fury (complete with invisible ink) flying across the pages. She has a big set of cajones, and she’s not afraid to use them. In her spare time, Kendall speaks your mind so you don’t have to.
Kendall lives off a dirt road near Atlanta, Georgia but don’t hold that against her. 

Buy Beats….

Stalk… um… ur… Follow Kendall…..

By creativedeeds

Indie-Credible Book Tour Schedule!

Indie-CredibleBanner

The Indie-Credible Authors Tour begins on September 1, 2013. Below you will find a list of all the authors and bloggers who are participating according to the date of their post. Since Laura and I are hosting, we decided to kick off the tour on our blogs, so we have September 1. There are at least three authors scheduled to be featured on every day in September. The bloggers have been working hard and have come up with some very unique and entertaining ways to show us just how Indie-Credible these authors really are. There are some extra surprises in store at a few of the sites so be sure to check them all. You never know what’s in store. At the very least you will be introduced to some Indie-Credible authors, more than a couple new books to add to your TBR list and you might even walk away with some awesome swag. Did I mention that there is over $300 up for grabs donated by the authors themselves? The Rafflecopter form will be available to fill out on each post. And as if the tour itself wasn’t entertaining enough, be sure to check out the official Indie-Credible Author Tour Video. 😉

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cara Rosalie Olsen – Shirley @ Creative Deeds Reads
Helen Boswell – Laura @ Little Read Riding Hood

Monday, September 2, 2013

Jennifer Collins – Ren Reidy @ A Little Bit of R&R
Sophie Davis – Angela Pratt @ I Feel the Need, the Need to Read
Jennifer Miller – Chandra Haun @ Unabridged Bookshelf 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chelsea Fine – Maliha Khan @ Anonymous Interests
Marianne Morea – Syreeta Elie @ Hardback Book Hotties
S.R. Johannes – Kate Tilton @ Froze8’s Blog
Ali Cross – Shannon O’Donnell @ Book Dreaming

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chris Buecheler – L.T. Kelly @ Lucy’s Lit Lovin’ Blog
Mary Ting – Mindy Fangedmom @ Forbidden Book Reviews
Stacey Marie Brown – Amy McGlone @ Turn the Page
Amos Cassidy – Laura Greenwood @ A Reader Lives A Thousand Lives

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Christi Snow – Shauni @ Bodice Rippers
Megan Curd – Jodi Murphy @ Butterflies, Books and Dreams
Jennifer Sights – Jodie Pierce @ Jodie Pierce
Susan Quinn – Kelly Fox @ Kindle and Me
Jennifer Snyder – Denice Cordero @ Books Mystify
Allie Brennan – Peggy @ Le Book Squirrel
 Marquita Valentine – One More Chapter Reviews

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ella J. Phoenix – S.M. Boyce @ S.M. Boyce
Michele G. Miller – Megan @ Paper Book Princess
Tawdra Kandle – Lauren K. McKellar @ Lauren’s Written Word
Melanie Rose – Crystal Allmon @ Out There Reviews

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Teresa Lynn Tolles – Lori @ Contagious Reads
Cindy M. Hogan – Chelsea @ Starbucks & Book Obsession
Jenni Moen – Dani Sanchez @ Just Booked
Alyssa Rose Ivy – Jackie @ No Bent Spines
Cindy C. Bennett – Alexandra Lindé @ Lexie Laser

Michelle Madow – Becca @ BS Book Reviewers

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Amber Kallyn – Noemi Stude @ Wild Wordy Women
Thomas Amo – Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms
Jessica Scott – FranJessca @ Book Lovin’ Mamas
Michelle Muto – Alice Ramos @ All Things in the Cloud Sweet

Monday, September 9, 2013

Amelia Hutchins – Dina Given @ Love Between the Sheets
Danielle Torella – T Spry @ Hooked on Books
Mike Hartner – Tammy Hall @ Tammy’s Tea Time
Tia Bach – CoCo White @ Book Kraze

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jill Cooper – Mami Jarman @ Word to Dreams
David James – Lynsey Newton @ Narratively Speaking

Kit Rocha – Ellen Widom @ The Book Bellas

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Desi DeOrto – Alii Shah @ Alii’s Book Jungle
Morgan Wylie – Jackie McPherson @ Sated Faery
Julie Coulter Bellon – Dawn @ Dawn Allen
Amy Queau – Elizabeth @ The Novel Tease
Claire Riley – Shauni @ Tea and Book
Amy Maurer Jones – Erin Lindsey @ Paws & Print

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Andrea Heltsley – Grace Fonseca @ Grace Books of Love
Devri Walls – Donna & Melanie @ Book Passion for Life
Juli D. Revezzo – Caroline Clemmons @ Caroline Clemmons
K.A. Last – Toni Lesatz @ My Book Addiction
M.R. Merrick – Danielle Young @ Consuming Worlds

Friday, September 13, 2013

Andris Bear – Mickey @ I’m a Book Shark 
Devyn Dawson – Megan Curd @ Megan Curd
Nicole R. Taylor – Reanna @ Phantasmic Reads
Tiffany King – Gabbie @ Rampant Readers

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Donna Fasano – Gaele Hince @ I am, Indeed
Nikki Jefford – Katrina Tinnon @ Bookish Things and More
Destiny Ford – Yara @ Once Upon a Twilight

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Elizabeth Sharp – Christine Marquette @ My Bookopolis
Kait Nolan – Jamie Johnson @ Fantasy Book Chick
Pendragon Inman – S. Cu’Anam @ Cu’s Author Spotlight
Angeline Kace – Catarina @ Reading and Things

Monday, September 16, 2013

Penelope Reece – Lori @ Romancing the Dark Side
Katie Hayoz – Melanie @ Little Read Riding Hood
Elle Chardou – Mari Brown @ Keeping it Real Book Blog
K.A. Tucker – Jamie Birdwell @ Alphas, Authors, Books, Oh My!
AnnaLisa Grant – Jacqueline Driggers @ The Book News Journal

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ashley Lavering – Justine Vandale @ Shelves of Books Blog
Elle Strauss – Calla @ Read Books and Live Green

Phoebe Lane – Jen Smith @ Random Jendsmit
Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo – Sue London @ Writing Insight

Wednesday, September 18, 2012

Priya Kanaparti – Francine Soleil Pinpin @ The Bookworm in Boots
Karen Hooper – Jennifer  @ Boricuan Bookworms
Bailey Ardisone – Mary Smith @ Book Nerds Across America
Elyssa Patrick – Jackie @ No Bent Spines

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Raine Thomas – Annmarie @ Fandom Fanatic
Erin Keyser Horn – Emmalee @ Little Read Riding Hood
Belle Whittington – Nicola Horner @ Endless Reading

Friday, September 20, 2013

Kendall Grey – Jamie Degyansiy @ Addicted to Heroines
RaShelle Workman – Kendall McCubbin @ Book Crazy
Felicia Tatum – Kris Seek @ The Book Beacon

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rebecca Ethington – Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
Kimberly Stedronsky – Cremona @ Mythical Books
HJ Bellus – Lisa @ A Life Bound By Books
Bethany Lopez – Tyhada Reads @ Tyhada Reads

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kristi Strong – Stacey @ Illustrious Illusions
Renee Carlino – Yvette Cervera @ Nose Stuck In A Book
Heather Hildenbrand  – Christyn @ The Book Cafe
Bonnie Paulson – Zee Hayat @ Zee Books Blog

Monday, September 23, 2013

Renee Peterson – Meagan @ Books to Get Lost In
Jessie Lane – Charlotte Lynn @ A Novel Review
Laura Elliot – Casey Peeler @ Hardcover Therapy
Boone Brux – Shawnie Nicole @ Book Pages & Dripping Ink

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TA Foster – Charlotte Abel @ Charlotte Abel
Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen – Gabi Bahr @ Gabic Reads
Laura Smith – Chandra Haun @ Unabridged Bookshelf
Heather Lyons – Jessica @ Lovin’ Los Libros
Breena Wilde – Chrisy Fletcher @ Reading Past My Bedtime

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Charlotte Abel – TA Foster @ TA Foster, Author
Sarah Ross – Brianna Lee @ Brianna Lee Book Reviews
Lila Felix – Mandy Hessong @ The Book Mom’s Reviews
Dani Hart – Michele G Miller @ Author Michele Miller Blog
Heather Self – Kathryn Grimes @ TSK, TSK, What to Read?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rebecca Rynecki – Natali @ Pretty in Pink Books and Reviews
Liz Long – Becky Paulk @ Book Bite Reviews
J. Elizabeth Hill – Jasmine & Megan @ The Book Groupies
Sarah Dosher – Tess Watson @ My Pathway to Books

Friday, September 27, 2013

J.L Bryan – Kelsey Wentworth @ Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf
Chelsea M. Cameron – Nat @ Seeking Book Boyfriends
Sean Hayden – Jessica @ Jess Resides Here

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shannon Dermott – Holly Harris @ Words Fueled by Love
M.E. Franco – Charity Parkerson @ The Sinner Author
Jason Letts – Tiffany Riach @ Book Infatuation
C.J. Ellisson – Melanie Marsh @ Fang Freakin’ Tastic Reviews

Sunday, September 29, 2013

M.R. Polish – Angie Edwards @ Books 4 Tomorrow
Jean Booth – Jennifer Greeff @ Battery Operated Book Blog
Cameo Renae – Amber McCallister @ The Wonderings of One Person

Monday, September 30, 2013

S.M. Boyce – Mandi Kaye Ottaway @ Never Too Fond of Books
Magan Vernon – Amy Logg @ The Reading Realm
Jen Wylie – Azahara Arenas @ Living in Our Own Story
Chelsea Camaron – Carrie Stadtler @ Books, Coffee, and Wine
Heather Killough-Walden – Shirley @ Creative Deeds Reads

By creativedeeds

Not His Kiss to Take by Finn Marlowe

NotHisKissToTakeA single kiss could change both their lives forever, but it’s not his kiss to take…
Dr. Evan Harrison has become a recluse, a prisoner inside his own house, felled in his prime by a migraine headache without end. All he’d ever wanted was to be a doctor, and now he’s nothing – until chance delivers a beaten and battered Jamie into his care. Fourteen years his junior, gorgeous, mouthy, stubborn and…completely and unquestionably straight. Maybe. Or maybe not…
Jamie doesn’t know what hit him, other than there were three of them, and that he’s broken and in pain and he doesn’t know the identity of the kind stranger with the cold stethoscope and warm eyes taking care of him. And he sure as hell doesn’t know why he likes his bossiness or finds him sexy….
Chance may have brought them together, but a shared attraction keeps them together long after Jamie’s bruises have faded. As Evan enjoys the longest pain-free stretch he’s known in two years, they begin to explore their attraction, the caresses of a kind Jamie’s never known. But even as Evan revels in his young lover’s first, tentative touches, the guilt is never far from his mind. Jamie’s never looked at another man romantically and Evan’s never looked at anything but. And Jamie won’t kiss him. That would be… gay. 
Evan wants Jamie’s kiss more than he’s ever wanted anything before in his life, but it’s not his kiss to take, its Jamie’s to give. Evan knows wanting Jamie is wrong, their relationship unethical, a relationship forbidden with just cause. He swore an oath to do no harm. And it’s not only his oaths that are going to get broken–he’s never given his heart away before.

Okay, not at all what I expected, but not in a bad way. This is one of those books that totally catches you off guard, at least it was for me. In the beginning I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole relationship. I found myself having the same doubts that Evan had, but once he voiced them, I realized that those doubts were unfounded.

The thing is, once I got to know both characters all that initial hesitation went away. Evan fought his feelings for Jamie to the point that he felt guilty about what he thought he was doing to him – emotionally. Jamie was a wreck over what had happened to him and was expecting Evan to treat him the way everyone else did… like he didn’t matter. The whole scenario was heartbreaking.

Beyond all the emotional stuff… and there was a lot of emotional stuff, the personalities of both these characters was priceless. Evan was sure of himself and knew what he wanted. He didn’t hide it, but regardless what he thought about himself, he didn’t force it either. His ‘cockiness’ was the perfect balance to Jamie’s stubbornness. There was a constant spark between these two and I loved it. They were smart, witty and the banter that bounced between the two of them was hilarious. I’m not sure that Jamie used the same pet name for Evan twice in a row – and none of them were endearing.

This was a book of acceptance, enlightenment and coming of age all rolled into one. It was also a perfect balance of romance, heartbreak and fun. It’s not for the squeamish though. There’s a fair amount of violence and some fairly graphic moments, so consider yourself warned.

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I received Not His Kiss to Take as a free download from Smashwords on June 14, 2013.

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Sacrificed in Shadow (Ascension #1) by S.M. Reine / Bout-of-Books 8.0 Review

SacrificedInShadow2Lincoln Marshall is a small-town deputy with a very big problem. Six members of his church have been found dead, killed by a rogue werewolf. He’ll have to make a deal with the Devil to save victims that have gone missing — maybe literally.

Elise Kavanagh, preternatural investigator and exorcist, is the expert when it comes to violent deaths at the jaws of evil. She’s also the demon known as the Godslayer. Elise jumps at Lincoln’s case, and it’s not just because of his down-home charm. Someone’s laid a trap for her in Northgate, and she wants to find out who.

She’ll have to team up with Rylie Gresham, Alpha of the last surviving werewolf pack, to figure out who’s trying to blame the murders on werewolves. Only together can they stop the killings — and uncover the secrets buried in Northgate.

I can honestly say that I have no idea where to start. Yes, Sacrificed in Shadow is that kind of book and I think it is already safe to say that Ascension is destined to be that kind of series.

First there were the characters. Wow… The supporting characters were just as CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1strong and as important as the main characters. With a cast this size, that was quite a feat, but it was pulled off seamlessly. I wasn’t sure about Lincoln and where he was going to fit. I wasn’t even sure if I liked him or not. There was definitely more to him that I expected. I’ll just leave it at that. I like getting glimpses into the minds of more than one character so I enjoyed the POV switch. To me it keeps things interesting and S.M. Reine’s books are usually full of very interesting characters. Sacrificed in Shadow was definitely no exception.

Then there was the world building. There was a lot to build on because this series ties the worlds of two separate series together in some very interesting ways. This is definitely a book that keeps you on your toes. The imagery was amazing and there was just enough familiarity to give readers a frame of reference and go with it.

Combine all this with a fair amount of heat (of the smexy variety) some nasty demons, crazy magic, plenty of action and a mystery that keeps you guessing about what’s really going on until the last minute and you have one amazing read. Exactly what you would expect from this author. Things don’t end in a cliff hanger exactly, but you know that there is more in store for all the characters involved. Things hang in the balance for more than one and I can’t wait to see where this series takes this unlikely alliance.

SacrificedInShadowIn case you don’t know, the Ascension series brings the worlds of Seasons of the Moon and Descent together. I love the way the stories are woven. Although I haven’t finished either of the previous series, I still followed what was happening. The only thing that it did do was spur me to go back and finish both series ASAP. You can probably start with Ascension, but I’d suggest starting at the beginning with Seasons of the Moon. There’s enough back story given to keep you from being confused, but you’re really missing out on a fantastic journey if you don’t.

The next book in the Ascension series is Oaths of Blood and it’s already on my TBR list.

DragonFlyRating5

Carniepunk: Parlor Tricks (Elemental Assassin #8.1) by Jennifer Estep / Bout-of-Books 8.0 Review

CarniePunkParlorTricksCome one! Come all! Witness Gin Blanco—aka the Elemental Assassin, aka the Spider—go toe to toe against the Esmerelda the Amazing’s Wheel of Death and some dangerously creepy clowns! Only at The Carnival of Wondrous Wonders!

A free story from the forthcoming Carniepunk urban fantasy anthology starring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, and Rob Thurman, and also includes Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Gay, Mark Henry, Hillary Jacques, Jackie Kessler, Kelly Meding, Allison Pang, Nicole D. Peeler, and Jaye Wells. Samples of all fourteen tales are included to tantalize and to tease. Come to the Carniepunkmidway and explore the creepy, mysterious, magical world of traveling carnivals today!
CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I should have known. I skipped this installment of Carniepunk when I read the book because I knew that I would soon be reading Deadly Sting and (when I’m paying attention) I like to keep my series reads in order. When I added Deadly Sting to my Bout-of-Books list I should have just thrown Parlor Tricks into the mix. Honestly, it was inevitable.
A perfect little glimpse into the Elemental Assassin world. I love Gin and having just her and her baby sister Bria featured in this short read was fun. Well as much fun as a scary, dangerous carnival can be. As per usual, Gin dispenses her own brand of justice with her trusty blades, but this time she has a little help from her sister. There was even enough time in Parlor Tricks for some mouth watering food descriptions.This one was short and sweet but still full of the wit, fun, danger and action that readers have come to expect from the Elemental Assassin series.

On a side note… I can’t really count this toward my ‘Why Buy the Cow’ Reading Challenge because I read it as part of the whole Carniepunk anthology. However, I thought it was worth mentioning that Amazon is still offering Parlor Tricks alone for FREE
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Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin #8) by Jennifer Estep – Bout-of-Books 8.0 Review

DeadlyStingRed is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot. 

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

I have had this one on my Kindle forever… actually since the Elemental Assassin Read-A-Long ended in August. *hangs head in shame* I’m so glad that I added it to my list of Bout-of-Books list for a lot of reasons. Not only was it a sure bet that it would get read, it was also a page turning read that helped me knock another book off my list. Yay!

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen any of my previous Elemental Assassin reviews, but I loved this book. Gin is one of my favorite kick a** heroines and she didn’t disappoint me in Deadly Sting. One of my favorite things about Gin is that even though she is an assassin, her targets aren’t random and she has a strict code that she lives and works by. She is also totally devoted and extremely protective of her ‘family.’ Basically if you mess or threaten one of them, she’s not responsible for what happens – you can pretty much guarantee that whoever poses the threat will be ‘good and dead’ by the end. That may sound rash and extreme, but the world that Jennifer Estep created for Gin pretty much gives its occupants no other choice.

My other favorite thing about this series is the characters. The crew that comprise Gin’s extended family are among some of my favorite in UF. I even appreciate the flashbacks because in my opinion readers got cheated out of an amazing character in the beginning of the series. Seeing how much influence Gin’s mentor had on her is an added bonus that I really enjoy.

One of the things that I thought was unique about Deadly Sting was that most of the action took place at one place. Gin usually moves around a bit more, but that doesn’t mean that the action was slow or lacking. A lot happened in this one. There were twists, turns a few mysteries solved and a few more opened. A few things were resolved, but not totally… I won’t say anymore, but if you’ve been following the series you probably know what I’m talking about. If not, this would be the perfect time to jump right in. Start with Spider’s Bite and just keep on going. The great part is that the next book in the series, Heart of Venom, releases August 27, 2013. Perfect timing! You can thank me later. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

 

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By creativedeeds

Bout-of-Books 8.0 I Spy Challenge

Paperback DayDreamer is sponsoring today’s challenge and it looked like the perfect diversion for today so I decided to participate. Not as easy as it looks, BTW. If you need a break from the reading frenzy, check it out. In the mean time, here are my entries:

  1. Snow FlakeIron knight by Julie Kagawa (You have to look really, really close, but it’s there 😉 )
  2. FlamesShift by M.R. Merrick
  3. A City SkylineWait for Me by Elisabeth Naughton
  4. The MoonOracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison
  5. A SwordMagic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  6. A Wedding DressTwo Weddings and One Near Funeral by Moira Rogers
  7. High HeelsBy a Thread by Jennifer Estep
  8. FogAt Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost
  9. A Christmas TreeIf You Believe in Me by Natalie J. Damschroder
  10. SunglassesFarsighted by Emlyn Chand
  11. LightningThe Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter
  12. A TattooLover Avenged by J.R. Ward
  13. Combat BootsEnvy – J.R. Ward
  14. HandcuffsDead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
  15. A RoadThe Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

Below are the corresponding covers to all the books listed in order. Some of them are a little obscure and you’ll have to look really hard to see, but some of them are fairly obvious. As per the rules, I own them all and there are only a couple that I haven’t read yet. Feel free to add to your TBR list! That’s my favorite part of Bout-of-Books!

IronKnight

ShiftbyMerrickWaitForMeOraclesMoon

 

MagicStrikesTwoWeddingsByAThreadAtGravesEnd

IfYouBelieveInMeFarsightedDarkestLieLoverAvenged

EnvyDeadWitchWalkingHauntingSeason

By creativedeeds

The Shadow of Mudflap (Foxtrot Team #1) by Christi Snow and M.F. Smith – Bout-of-Books 8.0 Review

ShadowOfMudflapTo us, first responders are heroes. But for them, risking their lives is a normal, everyday thing.

Mudflap:
Born the baby of the family, Mudflap has always had something to prove to emerge out of the shadows of his older siblings. He spent eight years as a Special Ops elite sniper and is now a firefighter. But at his heart, he’s just a normal West Texas good old boy who loves his beer, women and football, until the Department of Defense calls him up to say they need his skills again.

Shanae:
Shanae is a first responder of a different sort. She’s a trauma nurse who works on a medical evacuation helicopter team. But while she lives a life full of adrenaline every day, it’s just a cover for her real life, where she hides in the shadows and is secret agent, Shadowfox for the Lubbock Foxtrot Team (LiFT). She’s living the kind of life that most people think exists only in movies and books.

Working for two different branches of the government, Mudflap and Shanae are in a race against time and the terrorists who threaten the very heart of West Texas life, football. They’re working toward the same goal, but find themselves in a confrontation against each other and the lies they’ve each had to hide behind. Can love win out in the end or will the cost be each other and their very lives?

First responders are heroes every day, but this story tells the tale of when they become even more and find love along the way. The key is for them to stay alive so that they can complete their mission and just maybe live happily ever after.

On an ordinary day, they save lives. On an extraordinary day, they save the country.

(All the proceeds from this novel will go to the Lubbock Red Cross.)

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1It didn’t surprise me at all that I finished this one in practically one sitting – and not just because it was fairly short. (150-200 pages is not a long book for me.) It’s basically because Christi Snow’s books always demand to be read from start to finish. They tend to grab you from the beginning and don’t let go. The Shadow of Mudflap was definitely not an exception.

Mudflap was the first to be introduced and it was an intense introduction. Life or death as a matter of fact. Those opening scenes pretty much set the pace for this book. They also gave readers a pretty good sense of Mudflap’s personality. He was loyal, heroic and he couldn’t accept failure – especially when lives were at stake. Pretty much the personality traits of most first responders.

I liked Shanae from the beginning too. She was strong, brave, independent and pulled no punches. She also possessed the perfect combination of intelligence and wit. I understood her reluctance to fall for Mudflap, but from the time they met readers knew it was inevitable. Sparks flew between them from the start and didn’t let up.

This was a story full of intrigue, danger, interesting characters, loyalty, humor and plenty of smexy – the usual balance in a Christi Snow read. I loved the twists and turns. (Incidentally, this author has also turned Texas into a very dangerous and interesting place.) It kept the pages turning and left me wanting more. *sigh* About my only complaint with The Shadow of Mudflap is that I have to wait until August of 2014 for the next installment in the Foxtrot Team series. I have no doubt that Mudflap Undercover will be well worth the wait.

DragonFlyGreen4-5