Saturday, October 25, 2014

*Stacking the Shelves* Featuring Universal Alien by Gini Koch

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!

Stacking the Shelves for the weeks of October 19 - 25, 2014

Welcome back!  
I want to thank everyone for their continued support!
I hope you find something you like! It's been a rather interesting week!

Received via Publisher (Thank you DAW!)
Blog Tour coming soon!
I love Gini and her assistant. I really do. You can't ask for better
people to work with when it comes to blog tours, and latest updates!
Universal Alien (Katherine "Kitty" Katt # 10) by Gini Koch

Issues with Australia need to be straightened out, so the White House sends the Vice President and his wife, aka Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, over to handle the situation. But before Kitty can make things worse, she’s suddenly in another world -- one where she’s been married to Charles Reynolds for years and aliens don’t exist. 

Kitty’s not the only one confused, because the Kitty from that world has taken her place in this one. Can they both save their respective days before it’s too late to go home to the universes they belong to, or will one Kitty decide to keep the other’s life… forever?

Paperback, 544 pages
Expected publication: December 2nd 2014 by DAW 

Received via Publisher (Thank you Swoon Reads!)
Debut-novelist Jenny Elliott’s thrilling romance, chosen by readers, writers, and publishers for the first list in the new Swoon Reads imprint, pours on the tension and danger in an addictive combination that will keep you turning pages! 

Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined. 

But then she learns something about David that changes everything, and Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft, and is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend….

Cara has lost her best friend, discovered that her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: January 6th 2015 by Swoon Reads 

Received via Publisher (Thank you Fiewel and Friends!)
Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Expected Publication: February 3, 2015

Received via NetGalley (Thank you Entangled Teen!)
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…
Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother.Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

Expected Publication: November 25, 2014

Received via NetGalley (Thank you Entangled Teen!)
The past is Darker than they thought…
Between helping her mother with the Darker Agency and laying the smack down on monster baddies, Jessie Darker puts the “normal” in paranormal. But lately, things have gotten a little crazy…even for a smart-assed half-demon teenage girl.
For starters, Jessie’s been contracted into fifty-five years of annoying servitude. To a demon. Then there’s Lukas Scott, her sexy new boyfriend. Once the former incarnation of Wrath, he’s been going through some…uh, changes. Like residual anger. And trading chaste hangouts for lusty make-out sessions.
But it’s when Lukas and Jessie accidentally release a Very Nasty Demon that things get really bad, setting into motion a chain of death and mayhem that threatens both Earth and the Shadow Realm. Jessie has exactly four days to fix it…before all of Hell breaks loose.
Expected Publication: November 11, 2014

Amazon finds:
The Winter Long (October Daye # 8)

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.

Published September 3, 2014 DAW

Collide (The Solomon Experiment # 1)

The most dangerous secrets are the ones that kill.

When a surprising mental breakdown draws too much attention from a secret government group call the Order, 17-year-old Dakota discovers that her so-called boring life isn’t so boring after all. Between the lies, secrets and assassins out to kill her family, Dakota discovers there’s more to paranormal activity than ghosts and cheap mind tricks. Now she must uncover the truth before a new breed of terrorism takes everything away – including her life.

Published: July 7, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

*Gizmos Early Book Reviews* Sky Pirates (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #3) by Liesel Schwarz

**I received this book for free from Random House/Del Rey via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


With her husband, Hugh Marsh, missing in the netherworld and presumed dead, Elle Chance loses herself in the task at hand: piloting the airship Water Lily on commissions across the globe. But as it turns out, her beloved is very much alive—the once-powerful warlock reduced to a wraith. When Water Lily is threatened by pirates, Elle will have to channel all her power as the Oracle—the keeper of the barrier between the two Realms—to try to save what she loves most. As the dark forces of Shadow converge around her, Elle must find a way to breach the curse that binds Marsh. But once released, will Marsh return to her—or is their love destined to die so that he can live?

*My Thoughts*

Eleanor Chance Marsh, aka Lady Greychester, has tried to find a way of bringing her husband back from the Netherworld from which he was cursed to spend eternity as a Wraith. After 18 months of suffering from the loss of Hugh Marsh, Elle has distanced herself from everyone in her life. In the meantime, her reputation has grown as the pilot who is willing to take on the most dangerous and difficult cargoes filled with rare artifacts that are often times fraught with danger.

She has become more aloof with her own life and doesn't much care if something were to happen to her. Just when Elle's plans of finding a cure for Marsh are looking up thanks to a startling discovery, a band of sky pirates, led by Captain Logan Dashwood, attacks her dirigible the Water Lily, and forces a major change in plans. Dashwood has a whole lot of reasons for seeking revenge on Elle which means you really, really should read the previous books to understand why. The poor sod of a Captain doesn't know what Elle is, but knows that she has caused him a world of trouble in the past, and this time he has her right where he wants her.

Elle is a puzzling character at times. Elle is still the all powerful Oracle who was supposed to bring a new Golden Age to the realms of Light and Shadow, but has thus far failed miserably, and left a whole lot of bodies in her wake. She hasn't faced reality yet that her husband is probably gone forever. She hasn't moved on with her life or found the desire to be with anyone else. Elle is more than happy to leave everyone behind for the freedom of her ship, and the open skies. But when she finds herself under the control of renegade American Captain Dashwood, Elle once again finds a way of living, along with camaraderie with a whole new cast of characters, and perhaps a bit of happiness as well.

On another front, Patrice Chevalier is back and the Council of Warlocks has fallen under his sway. They all agree that Elle needs to be under their control and bound in chains like previous Oracles were. Patrice makes for an interesting villain in that once he goes dark, he goes all the way. He is so caught up with gaining vengeance against Elle for what he claims is her failings and misjudgments, that he can't focus on anything other than destroying her. I think that perhaps Sky Pirates would have benefited from a longer confrontation between Patrice and Elle, and wonder what Schwartz's plans for him are in future novels.  

Sky Pirates is apparently NOT the final installment in the Chronicles of Light and Shadow series. If you have not read the other two books, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, and A Clockwork Heart, I recommend that you do so since they all connect. The ending to Sky Pirates leaves some interesting questions that I will be eager to see how Schwartz explains them and works them out. The whole idea that there could definitely be a love triangle coming to the next installment, has me sweating in agony. Once again, this is something I hate like veil mixed with peas, but apparently I am in the minority on this issue. Schwartz also needs to explain a certain scene and whether reviewers like myself are way off base with our guesses as to what is coming next for Elle and her future.

Title - Sky Pirates
Author - Liesel Schwartz
Series - The Chronicles of Light and Shadows # 2
Published by Random House/Del Rey
Releases: October 28, 2014
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Paranormal, Historical
Format: e-Book, 320 pages

Thursday, October 23, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Tainted Blood (Hell's Belle #2) by Karen Greco

**I received this book for free as part of the Tainted Blood Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


After surviving a vampire assassin (not to mention an awkward affair with a hot FBI agent that ended worse than she could have imagined), witch/vampire hybrid Nina Martinez is reunited with the full Blood Ops team in Providence, Rhode Island. Her Aunt Babe is tutoring her in all things witchcraft, and her vampire partner Frankie is enjoying the benefits of daywalking, courtesy of a demon spell.

When a segment of the Rhode Island vampire population is marked for death by a tainted blood supply, Nina and her team race to find Patient Zero before the local vampire population is wiped out. But when a demon infestation threatens to take control of the city, Nina must join forces with newly elected mayor—and closet demon— Ami Bertrand before the city falls into ruin.

Filled with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Nina and her group of supernatural misfits battle a surprising new enemy that threatens their very existence.

No wonder she still can’t get a date.

*My Thoughts*

Tainted Blood (Hell's Belle #2) features mixed blood (witch/vampire) Nina Martinez and her Blood Ops teammates who go after rogue supernaturals and put them down once they step out of line. Nina's teammates include her partner of many years Frankie Montefeltro (700 + year old vampire), Dr. Lochlan O'Malley (Druid), Darcy (Banshee), and the newest addition, FBI Gang Expert Max Deveroux (Beserker) who joined the team after making a deal with a demon.

Providence, Rhode Island has a problem. It has not only become a beacon for the supernatural community under Mayor Ami Bertrand (Demon), but a portion of its vampire community is being targeted by a tainted blood supply that causes them to riot. The so called Beta vampires, who don't drink blood from live humans, are dying at an alarming rate, and their blood is highly toxic to other vampires. It is up to Nina and her Blood Ops team to discover who is responsible and why before things get out of control and an even deadlier problems pops up.

When not saving the world from rogue supernaturals, Nina is a bartender and part owner of Babe's. Her Aunt Babette (Witch) has tried teaching Nina about her witch powers that revealed themselves after nearly dying in Hell's Belle. But, Nina hasn't caught up to where she should be, which means that she's a stronger vampire than she is a witch. Her vampires powers have manifested since being stabbed with a witch blade. Nina, does, however, have the ability to see and talk to ghosts, and control the weather, mostly.

Nina and a ghost she calls Casper, are like two peas in a pod, and together they are able to do remarkable things with magic and spells. It is obvious that even though Nina has a very long way to go before she truly understands her true potential, there's something mysterious about her heritage that makes people gravitate towards her. Tainted Blood isn't necessarily an action filled story, but there are mysteries and powerful villains just waiting to cause more havoc for Nina and the rest of the supernatural community.

I often times speak of my dislike of love triangles, and that remains true today. Nina and Frankie are a team, and perhaps much more now that he saved her life. However, Max apparently isn't going away any time soon, and his feelings for Nina haven't lessened any since he first came on the scene in Hell's Belle and sold his soul to a demon. In the end, it would absolutely surprise me if Nina ended up with anyone else but Frankie.

Tainted Blood is apparently not the last story in this series since Greco leaves us with a rather drastic, if not stunning cliffhanger ending that changes almost everything Nina has come to believe in and fight for. As much as I admire Nina's strength of standing up to others, and not putting up with others BS, she definitely needs to find not only her magic, but the secrets behind what makes her so different from others, along with gathering new allies that will have her back when the shit truly hits the fan.

I do hope that there's a third novel in this series, and it doesn't get abandoned due to sales, or what-have-you. I do believe we need to wrap up the story in such a way that Nina and her crew are given every opportunity to shine and once again, save the world from devious villains. Greco also gives readers a short novella called River Vamp which starts right after the ending of Tainted Blood. The story actually takes place 12 years before Hell's Belle.

*Recvd via Bewitching Book Tours* Top Stop 10/23/2014

Author - Karen Greco
Title - Tainted Blood (Hell's Belle # 2)
Published via CreateSpace
Released: October 16, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: E-Book, 292 pages

*Blog Tour Stop* Tainted Blood by Karen Greco - Review, Giveaway, Spotlight

Welcome to the Tainted Blood Blog Tour!
Today's stop includes an Excerpt of the book, and a Giveaway!
Thanks for stopping by! It is much appreciated!

Tainted Blood
Hell's Belle Series
Book 2
Karen Greco

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Date of Publication: Oct. 20, 2014

ISBN: ISBN-13:978-1500844448

Number of pages: 582
Word Count: 95,704

Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Design Inc.

Book Description:

After surviving a vampire assassin (not to mention an awkward affair with a hot FBI agent that ended worse than she could have imagined), witch/vampire hybrid Nina Martinez is reunited with the full Blood Ops team in Providence, Rhode Island. Her Aunt Babe is tutoring her in all things witchcraft, and her vampire partner Frankie is enjoying the benefits of daywalking, courtesy of a demon spell.

When a segment of the Rhode Island vampire population is marked for death by a tainted blood supply, Nina and her team race to find Patient Zero before the local vampire population is wiped out. But when a demon infestation threatens to take control of the city, Nina must join forces with newly elected mayor—and closet demon— Ami Bertrand before the city falls into ruin.

Filled with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Nina and her group of supernatural misfits battle a surprising new enemy that threatens their very existence.

No wonder she still can’t get a date.

From best-selling author Karen Greco, Tainted Blood is the second book in the critically acclaimed Hell’s Belle urban fantasy series.

Full Review (Link Below)


"Jesus Christ, Frankie," I muttered as the crowbar hit the worn marble floor with an earsplitting clatter.  So much for stealth. We should have just ripped through the doors with explosives.

We were breaking into the Superman Building. At 26 floors, it was the first skyscraper ever built in downtown Providence. It lost its last tenant three years ago, and the gorgeous art deco structure was now a towering reminder of better days, when manufacturing was booming and people had money to burn. Years of attempts to "revitalize" the area had fallen flat. This left plenty of room for the underground supernatural factions to sweep in and take over.

Frankie flashed a fangy grin at me. "What's the fun in surprising them? It's never a good time unless it all goes off the rails."

I shook my head and sighed. Ever since Frankie was charmed by a demon to walk in the sunlight, he thought he was invincible. And, sure, being a vampire helped, but he could be staked just as easy as any other vamp. His arrogance could get us both killed.

We walked swiftly through the lobby of the abandoned high rise, keeping tight to the walls. In our all-black commando outfits, we blended easily into the dark hallway.  

I stole a wistful look at the bank of elevators. The electricity was cut to the building. We'd be taking the stairs. "Want to guess what floor they're on?"

"I say top floor," Frankie said with his hand already on the door to the stairwell.

It was going to be a long-ass climb. Up the 26 stories and possibly a few extra flights to get to the tippy top of the building's airship docking station. Seriously. The very top floor of the building was built for docking blimp-like airships, so there was a pretty cool waiting area/corporate suite turned Depression-era speakeasy at the apex. Too bad we were seeing it under these circumstances.

About a week ago, a suspicious news report piqued our interest. A group of crazed individuals were caught rampaging through downtown, tossing cars with superhuman strength, punching through brick walls and causing general weird mayhem. A few witnesses described them with blood around their mouths.

Max, our newest Blood Ops member serving as double agent in the FBI, was on record as calling this a "bath salt related incident." It was simple to blame this behavior on meth-heads on a DIY bender. But we knew better. They were vampires, and they were out of control. Frankie and I were dispatched to take care of them.

We climbed the stairs quickly, Frankie almost a floor ahead of me as we ascended. My calves ached by the 17th floor, and I was dripping with sweat. The vamps would be able to smell me by floor 22 if they were paying attention.  Since I am half vampire, I can handle a fair amount of physical exertion. But a swift walk up the stairs of a high-rise carrying an extra 35 pounds of vampire-fighting gear was punishing. Pushing through the cramps in my legs, I silently vowed to increase my workouts. It was hard enough to match Frankie's speed and strength, but now that he thought he was the Man of Steel, it was damn near impossible just to catch up to him.

We hit the top, and I finally had a chance to catch my breath. Frankie smirked at my all-too-human physical stamina.

When my heart stopped racing, I double-fisted a pair of stakes and nodded at Frankie. He kicked the door open and we launched into the penthouse. Moonlight poured through the grime-coated glass ceiling.

We rushed in like hellfire, expecting to find ourselves in the middle of a melee. But the room appeared empty.

"Top floor, Frankie? Really?" I grumbled, re-sheathing my stakes. "How much you want to bet they're on two?"

Frankie raised his arm and shushed me. I shot him a dirty look, but quickly softened it when I heard the hushed groans too.

I motioned to Frankie to move towards the sounds, and we cautiously walked to the back of the room. A shape was huddled in a dark corner with two bodies laid out on the floor in front of it. I pulled a mag light out from one of my cargo pants pockets and trained it on the shadowy forms.

A female vampire inched away from the light. Blood was smeared down her face and neck, and it covered her chest. Two male vampires were on the floor, their fronts washed in red as well. The walls were covered in sticky, black-red blood. The entire room was just dripping. It looked like a blood bank exploded.

The vampires on the floor were truly dead, their pale faces cracked like antique porcelain dolls. Their appendages were just starting to decompose, but their midsections were blown out, like they swallowed a bomb and it exploded. The one still living, for lack of a better word, looked close to meeting true death herself. The emaciated vampire half-sobbed, half-moaned as she rocked back and forth.

Although they matched the descriptions of the vamps-gone-wild group, these couldn't be our marauders. They were simply too sick. They looked like junkies who overdosed. A few times.

"What do we do?" I had never seen anything like this before. I sure as hell hoped Frankie would know how to handle this mess.

Frankie walked a wide semicircle around the vampires, his shoes making sucking noises as he lifted them off the sticky, blood-soaked floor. He was worried, clearly on guard.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Kate," she croaked out.

"Right, Kate," Frankie's voice was soothing. "How long have your friends been like this?"

"Since yesterday." Her hoarse voice was barely above a whisper. "We slept in the stairwell but they came in here last night and just...." She motioned at the carnage around her and let out a muffled sob.

"So you were able to walk back and forth to the stairwell? Can you do it now?" I asked.

She tried pulling herself up, but wasn't strong enough to handle the weight of her tiny body. So she crawled towards us, plowing over the disintegrating corpses.

"Stop, Kate! Stay right there!" Frankie visibly jumped back, his shoes making a sharp thwack as they lifted off the gummy floor. "Nina, you need to call Max and Dr. O. Max needs to get the electricity back on to this building. She's going to need to go out the elevator, and Dr. O needs to bring her down."

"Why are we taking her out of the building?" I asked. Our mission was to kill them. Two were dead, and the last one was nearly there. Mission almost complete.

"Because they are Beta-Vamps." Frankie glanced at the vamp on the floor. "Right?"

She nodded, tears streaming down her face.

"No way," I protested. "Betas don't rampage like that."

"They do if they are sick," Frankie explained calmly, his eyes still on Kate.

Beta-Vamps were like the hippies of the vampire world. They were vampires that were missing the predator genome sequence. They weren't human killers. They survived on who knows what. Maybe animal blood. Maybe blood stolen from hospitals. In some extreme cases, they ate rust for the iron content. Betas were rare, and, because of their peace-loving nature, extremely vulnerable to attack from all sorts of supernatural factions.

"So why don't we just carry her down?" I said with a shrug, stepping towards Kate, breaking my boots' suction to the floor.

Frankie was in front of me before I could take another step. My stomach rolled as Frankie dropped his guard and a wave of his panic washed over me.

A few months ago, Frankie had to bind me to him to save my life. For the most part, we're dealing with it just fine. But if he's in emo overdrive and forgets to close off our connection, I get hit with whatever he's feeling. It also works the same in the other direction.

"Don't go near her. She's been infected."

"Infected? With what? Beta-Vamps aren't vulnerable to infections."

"With..." Frankie stopped. He looked shattered. "My God, I haven't seen this since 1877."

"What is it?" I pushed.

"Opium poisoning."

"Did you just say opium?"

"Blood-born opium poison. If it gets into our bodies, we die." Frankie was visibly nervous, moving in a jittery semicircle around the woman. "We can't go near her."

"Oh. Shit. Does Dr. O know what to do?" I shrunk back. Opium. Who knew? Apparently Frankie. That explained why vampires were always told not to get their fix from heavy drug users.

"I'm not sure. That's why you need to call him. And he'll need Max since we really shouldn't stay here. Now please. She doesn't have much time."

Right. I pulled out my phone. I'd start with Max. He'd need time to power up the building anyway.

He answered on the sixth ring.

He sounded groggy. "What's up?"

"Sorry to wake you but we're at the Superman Building with two seriously dead vamps and one who is really sick. We need to turn on the power to get her out of here with the elevator. Can you get this building back on the grid?"

"Christ, can't one of you just carry her down the stairs?" His voice was muffled, like he was pressing his face into his pillow.

"Frankie and I can't touch her. She has some sort of infection, something that only vampires can contract. And it kills them."

"Really?" He jolted awake. I heard the bed sheets rustle as he got up.

"I don't know, really. I've never heard of this before. But I know Frankie is freaking out, and said we need to get her out of here. And he only freaks out if there's a damn good reason."

"You know I worked for the FBI all day, right?" he groused. I heard a closet door slam.

"Seriously? Are you going to do this right now?"

"You both were going up there to stake them anyway. So they die of something else. It's the same outcome. Why save her?"

"Because, she's not a predator vampire."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Look, I'll explain later, but we are running out of time. I need to get Dr. O here, and you need to get the electricity on at this place."

"Jesus, you people are complicated. I'll be there in 20." He hung up before I could respond.

Like Frankie, Max had made a deal with resident demon and Providence mayor Ami Bertrand. As a result, Bertrand had turned Max into a Berserker, a supernatural warrior that went extinct with the Vikings. Well, extinct up until Bertrand's curse.

Since Max had been turned into a supernatural entity, but one that was supposed to be extinct, he joined our team as a double agent with the FBI. Our team is Blood Ops, an elite government agency that deals with rogue supernatural factions. Technically, we also don't exist. To humans, anyway. Our existence — hell, the very existence of anything supernatural — was on a "need to know" basis, and even the president of the United States didn't need to know. Only a very select few Department of Defense members knew about Blood Ops. That's plausible deniability for you.

But damn, the Berserker in Max sure made him grumpy.

I hit the speed dial button for Dr. O. Dr. Lachlan O'Malley led our unit of Blood Ops. Though he mostly resembled your favorite 60-something college professor, Dr. O was a Druid priest, which made him pretty damn old. And, like the Druid priests before him, he knew absolutely everything.

"Nina, what's wrong?" Dr. O asked in his thick brogue. I could tell I woke him up.

"Sorry Doc, but we have a problem here. We have Beta-Vamps that ingested opium. Two are dead — like for real, seriously dead. One is barely hanging on."

"Opium? Are you sure?" Dr. O sounded a lot more awake suddenly.

"Frankie says he's sure. Said he hasn't seen this since 18-something or other."

"Frankie would know. Do you have her quarantined?"

"Quarantined? Frankie said not to touch her. He didn't say anything about a quarantine." This was weird.

"You are in the same room with her?"

"Where else would we be?" I asked, impatience getting the best of me.

"If any of their blood gets into your blood stream, or Frankie's, that would be very bad."

"Yeah, Frankie already explained that to me. We aren't touching her.

"Nina, I am afraid it's much more serious than that. Opium poisoning tends to make infected vampires projectile vomit out blood before they die. Then their torso explodes."

That sounded bad. And gross.

"When? When would that happen?" I gripped the phone tightly, eyeballing Kate. She whimpered in the corner near the vampire bodies with her back against the wall.

"It could happen at any time. Lock her in wherever you are, and wait until I get there. Do not wait in the room with her, neither you nor Frankie. Do you understand?" Dr. O's tone was stern.

"Yes, I got it. Okay, we are on the top floor. Max is on his way to power up the building to get her out of here. Just get here fast."

"I am on my way."

The phone went dead. I hightailed it over to Frankie, who was staring helplessly at Kate.

"Frankie, we gotta get out of here." I pulled gently on his arm.

"Please don't leave me." Kate's voice was so weak, I could barely hear her whisper.

Frankie didn't move. He just looked sadly at the sick Beta, his eyes filled with tears.

"Come on, Frankie." I nudged him again. "We can't be in here right now. Dr. O's on his way."

He hesitated. "We can't leave her like this."

"We aren't going to do her any good if we get sick, too," I reasoned.

He ignored me. I changed tactics.

"Stop being a stubborn ass," I raised my voice. He still ignored me.

Kate moaned and fell into a fetal position. She began to convulse. Frankie made a move towards her, but I grabbed him. Standing in front of him, I took him by both shoulders and stared into his eyes.

"We need to get out of here before she barfs blood all over us. Don't make me go witchy on you."

It was an idle threat. Only a few weeks before, I first learned that I am half-witch as well. My witch abilities were dormant for years — hidden by my vampire genetics — until an unfortunate encounter with a spelled knife turned on the hocus-pocus. I was working with my witch mentor, who's also my aunt, on controlling my newfound abilities. Much to Auntie Babe's frustration, I was not taking to it like a fish to water. If I tried to unleash my mojo in here, poor Kate could very well blow up, taking Frankie and me along with her.

Kate's moaning was now punctuated by high-pitched cries of pain. Clearly in agony, she writhed on the floor. Her hands formed into claws, and she scratched at the body of the seriously dead vampire closest to her. His skin tore like dried papier-mâché as she drove her nails into his corpse. As she tore at his flesh, blood bubbled out of her mouth.

"She not going to make it!" I shouted at Frankie, pushing on his lanky six-foot frame. "And neither are we if we don't get out of here!"

I shoved Frankie harder towards the door. He finally snapped out of his stupor and we fled to across the room to the stairwell door. I pushed on it, but it didn't budge. Shaking the handle, I pressed all my weight against it. Nothing. I moved aside and Frankie levered a kick at the door. He succeeded in denting the door, jamming it even harder into the frame.

"Crap, Frankie! There's no time!" I yelled over Kate's ear-piercing shrieks.

Frankie looked wildly around. "Can we break the windows?"

Everything was soaked in blood. Blood we couldn't touch. Crap. I had no choice.

"Hold on!" I closed my eyes tightly and I tried to clear my thoughts, but between Kate's shrieks and Frankie's desperation creeping into my head, not to mention my own stress, my mind was too unfocused to do this right. Oh well. Close enough was going to have to do.

I felt the air shift around me, and I latched onto this small breeze, willing it to grow to hurricane strength. My hair loosed from its ponytail and slapped across my face. The swelling wind pushed me forward. Grabbing Frankie's hand for stability, I cried out the few words of Latin I could come up with that approximated "break the damn glass." The five plate glass windows on the south side of the room shook. I repeated the words louder, putting more force behind them. The wind turned hurricane strength, pushing us across the room, dangerously closer to Kate. Finally, the windows shattered one by one, shards of glass falling 26 stories to the sidewalk.

I opened my eyes. Kate was about to explode. Blood frothed around her lips, her shrieks now muffled as the blood worked its way up her throat.

Hands still clutched, Frankie and I nodded at each other, knowing exactly what we had to do. Together, we ran straight for the windows, and leapt feet first into the star-filled sky.

Frankie's hand slipped out of mine as we both twisted our bodies and made a grasp for the ledge. I caught it, just barely, almost wrenching my shoulder out of its socket on the impact. Frankie similarly stopped short next me. We dangled 26 stories over downtown Providence.

About the Author:

Karen Greco has spent close to twenty years in New York City, working in publicity and marketing for the entertainment industry. Originally from Rhode Island (she loves hot wieners from New York System, but can't stand coffee milk), she studied playwriting in college (and won an award or two).

After not writing plays for a long time, a life-long obsession with exorcists and Dracula drew her to urban fantasy, where she can decapitate characters with impunity.

Her first novel, Hell's Belle, was released in 2013. Tainted Blood is the second book in the best-selling Hell's Belle urban fantasy series.

Tour giveaway

10 copies of ebook (mobi or epub format) and custom-made vampire stakes, etched with ruins, like the stake Nina uses in Tainted Blood. Open to US Shipping.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Touch of Evil (Thrall #1) by C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp

**I received this book for free from Tor Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


The alien vampires known as the Thrall classify most humans as Prey, save for a few who survive the bite of the parasite. People like Kate Reilly, whose latent psychic powers were activated by the vampire's venom when she was attacked a few years ago. Kate is Not Prey, and safe.

Or is she? The Thrall Queen intends to make Kate her successor, despite Kate's hatred of the vampires.

All is not bleak in Kate’s world. Her downstairs neighbor, Tom, is a hunky firefighter who arouses her senses…including the ones that tell her he's not human. Tom’s a werewolf—and his pack knows how to protect Kate from the Thrall Queen. The problem? The last time Kate trusted a man she loved, he betrayed her to the Thrall and nearly got her killed.

Action, adventure, romance, and thrills—everything readers want from theUSA Today bestselling authors who are also Cat Adams, creator of the Blood Singer series—are all on display in Touch of Evil.

*My Thoughts*

Touch of Evil is the story about a race of sentient parasites with a psychic, hive society that considers everyone on earth Prey. Only a very few humans have achieved the status of "Not Prey"---those who pose a threat to the hive. Mary Kathleen "Kate" Reilly is one of those people. 6 years ago, Kate fought and killed a Thrall Queen. During the fight, her latent psychic abilities were triggered by a bite. Kate is now a bonded courier who delivers valuable goods all over the world. But, she can't get away from the Thrall who has limited her movements by agreement, and whose voices she hears in her head.

Here's where I am a bit off kilter. I have no clue what the agreement entailed or who it was signed with. This is supposedly a society that has more than one queen. In fact, there is the possibility that there could be dozens, if not hundreds. So, Katie is expected to abide by the agreement which means, no running, or she becomes Prey. Prey means she can be bitten by anyone. If she is challenged, she can fight with knives, but no guns since it gives HER an advantage. Of course, Monica, the sadistic Queen who wants Kate's submission, doesn't exactly play by the rules.

Kate wants absolutely nothing to do with Queen Monica, the Thrall, the Hosts, or the Herd. But, with Kate living in Denver, she doesn't always get what she wants. Especially since she is high on the top of Monica's list as a replacement and nobody close to Kate is off limits. Monica makes every effort to make Kate's life unbearable to the point where she has no choice but to either accept her new fate or take her own life. Too bad for Monica that she didn't see Kate falling in love with lycanthrope, EMT/fireman Tom Bishop, or an alliance formed by people who don't want Kate as the next Queen.

Touch of Evil (Thrall #1) was apparently released originally in 2006, and is now being brought back by Tor in trade paperback. Touch of Evil takes on a whole new twist on the vampire genre with aliens being what is known as the Thrall. The writers also use as matriarchy society for werewolves which is something we don't see a whole lot of. Then again, the authors are known for tweaking mythology and making it their own. I recommend reading the Blood Singer series featuring Celia Graves.

Touch of Evil is a hybrid paranormal romance. While Kate and Tom are definitely eager to see how far they can push their sexual relationship against Tom's leader, it doesn't take away from the overall story, or the fact that Kate is more or less a heroine who perhaps takes not trusting others to a whole new level. I would offer that the ending of Touch of Evil is much more exciting and visual than most of the story. Thus why I have given it 3 stars but will most likely attempt to find the next installment called Touch of Madness.

Author(s) - CT Adams, Cathy Camp
Title - Touch of Evil (Thrall # 1)
Published by Tor Books
Released - October 14, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Format: Paperback, 352 pages


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