Apr 172014
 

Badass Book Reviews Welcomes:

AJ Banner

I recently had the pleasure  of reading AJ Larrieu’s debut novel, Twisted Miracles, and I loved it – a solid 4 skull read!  I’m super excited to have AJ stop by the blog today and introduce you to her world of Louisiana shadowminds because I think this is a perfect read for fans of Badass urban fantasy.  But enough from me, let me introduce you to the book and then AJ will take over.  Be sure you keep reading for your chance to enter the amazing giveaway we have and see my full review of the novel.

FleurDeLis

Twisted MiraclesTwisted Miracles by AJ Larrieu
Book #1 in The Shadowminds

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: April 7th 2014
ARC Provided by Author and Carina Press

Synopsis from Goodreads: Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina—Cass’s childhood friend—is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.

 

Writing Outside the Paranormal Canon

AJ Larrieu

There’s a rich history of folklore and myth underpinning canonical paranormal creatures. Legends of vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies and angels go back hundreds or even thousands of years. Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries, Clayton Danvers of Bitten—they might not look much like their literary ancestors, but they still carry those ancient creatures’ DNA, and I think that’s part of what makes their stories feel so real. The characters tap a rich vein of cultural memories we’re only barely aware of. They feel familiar.

When I decided to write something different—telepaths and telekinetics, people who can manipulate energy with their minds—I didn’t have that deep well of myth to draw from. There have been plenty of books written about people with psychic powers, but most of them are more modern. When it came to making my made-up world feel real, I had to use something other than legends.

At first it felt very freeing. After all, if there are no traditional rules, I can make up whatever I want! But that way leads to madness. For any paranormal world to feel real, it has to obey some sort of rules, and those rules have to make some sort of sense. The legend that sunlight kills vampires is so well-established, we don’t stop to wonder if it’s “true” or not—it’s part of the canon, and if a vampire can walk around in daylight, we want an explanation. But telekinetics? There aren’t enough of them out there to establish a set of laws.

But maybe that’s okay. In this case, maybe the laws aren’t historical, but logical. Instead of researching mythology for my book, I did a kind of “thought experiment” and asked myself: If people can move things with their minds, how much can they move? If I pretend for a moment that this is actually real, what are the limits, and what are the possibilities? This led me to all kinds of crazy places. I gave different flavors of power to different folks and came up with people who could convert energy (telekinetics) or simply detect it (dowsers) or change it in precise, intuitive ways (healers). It ended up being even more fun than a free-for-all—like a puzzle I got to figure out as I went.

As for some of those other paranormal creatures? Well, they definitely show up… they’re just a little bit different. :)

FleurDeLis

About The Author

AJ LarrieuA.J. Larrieu grew up in small-town Louisiana, where she spent her summers working in her family’s bakery, exploring the swamps around her home and reading science fiction and fantasy novels under the covers. She attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in biochemistry and wrote bad poetry on the side. Despite pursuing a Ph.D. in biology, she couldn’t kick the writing habit, and by the time she graduated, she had an addiction to writing sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Her debut novel, Twisted Miracles, kicks off her dark, romantic urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds, which follows a group of humans with psychic powers through New Orleans’ supernatural underworld.

A.J. is currently a working biophysicist in San Francisco, where she lives with her family and too many books.

 

Find AJ Larrieu on the web:
Website || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads || Book Page || Publisher Page

Buy Twisted Miracles today:

Buy-Now-Amazon  Buy-Now-iTunes Buy-Now-Barnes-Noble Buy-Now-Kobo Add-to-Goodreads

FleurDeLis

 Giveaway

AJ has been so kind to offer an amazing giveaway.  To celebrate the release of her debut novel, she is offering an amazing prize pack for one Badass (US-only) winner.  It will include:

  • one handmade bookmark made of reclaimed Louisiana cypress
  • one mug “advertising the fictional B&B where Twisted Miracles takes place.
  • one lavender sachet
  • one e-copy of Twisted Miracles (But if you’ve already bought it—don’t worry! I’ll give you any one book by one of my writer buddies Jenn Bennett or Kristin Miller instead. Your choice, print or e-book, any available title.

Enter using the rafflecopter below and click here to learn more about the items in the prize pack.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FleurDeLis

 Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-

AJ Larrieu’s debut novel, Twisted Miracles, took the basic ideas of telekinesis and telepathy and ran with them.  She created a fascinating new world and filled it will flawed, but determined characters.  I really enjoyed my introduction to this version of Louisiana and I can’t wait to find out more about Cass, Shane, Lionel, Bruce, and the rest of The Shadowminds crew!

Cass is telepathic and hails from Louisiana, but don’t come to this book thinking you’re getting another Sookie Stackhouse.  Cass is a very different character personality-wise and she also has the added power of telekinesis.  A traumatic event in her past spends her running from Louisiana and the shadowmind community, but she gets pulled back in with the disappearance of her friend, Mina.  Cass begins to learn more about her powers and what was the real cause of the tragedy in her past.  She also begins to get close to her ex-beau, Shane, again.  I appreciated the AJ let Cass struggle; she wasn’t instantly a mental powerhouse.  She had setbacks and was scared of her abilities, but overtime she learned to wield them to help others.  I was also happy to see very little of a love triangle.  I actually don’t even think you can really call it that because Cass is never truly interested in the other man.

It took me a little longer to warm up to Shane in Twisted Miracles.  He seemed like a solid guy, but he just could not believe Cass when it came to how far advanced her powers were.  He wants to believe her, but he has doubts because he’s never seen an ability like that before.  It did make his action seem more “real,” but I didn’t fully enjoy his relationship with Cass until he accepted everything as truth.  I liked that he and Cass has a long-established history as well; it made everything that developed between them much more realistic than insta-love.

Twisted Miracles also had really fascinating secondary characters.  I would love to see more of Jackson, the man who helped Cass with her powers before she returned to Louisiana, and the other San Fransisco shadowminds and guardian.  I absolutely loved Lionel and Bruce, Cass’s surrogate family.  They had a great relationship and I loved the extra little elements of them running a B&B.  Bunny, the shadowmind healer, also seems like she has more up her sleeve than was shown here and the guardian Susannah will definitely be a force to be reckoned with.  The one character that I wish had had more development was Mina.  We are told she and Cass were close, but I never felt that way.  They were separated for much of the book, but even when they were together I didn’t really get a sense of their friendship.

The eventual villain of Twisted Miracles might not be too surprising for some readers.  A few hints are thrown out at the beginning, but then the background starts to fill in and earlier assumptions may fall into doubt.  Even if the ending wasn’t too shocking, I still enjoyed the ride and was never bored with Cass and Shane’s investigations.  The end did wrap up rather quickly, but I think it left plenty of loose ends for the next book to build on.

Thank you to Netgalley, Carina Press, and AJ Larrieu for providing a review copy of this book.

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

 

 

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 Posted by on April 17, 2014 at 7:00 am
Apr 162014
 
Review: Clipped Wings and Inked Armor by Helena Hunting

Disclaimer: Way back when I read and loved a certain young adult vampire series, I discovered fan fiction. At first I was hesitant to read this book because, well, the tattooed and pierced main character kind of scared me. At the time, I was struck by what a unique and almost unrecognizable take this book was on the original canon. As a fan fiction, Clipped Wings and Inked Armor was one of the more popular works out there. Clipped Wings and Inked Armor has been released as two books, with a prequel Cupcakes and Ink also available. New Release Review: [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 16, 2014 at 7:00 am
Apr 152014
 
Release Day Review: The Temptations of Anna Jacobs by Robyn DeHart

The Temptations of Anna Jacobs by Robyn DeHart Book #2 in Dangerous Liaisons Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery Publication Date: April 15th 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and InterMix Synopsis from Goodreads: Love and justice… When Drew Foster is released from prison, he doesn’t much care about salvaging his soiled reputation. Though he’s working undercover, everyone in Victorian London believes him guilty of the Jack the Ripper murders and that his brother paid for his “innocence.” Despite her genteel upbringing, Anna Jacobs is intent on finishing medical school and becoming a physician. Society’s ridicule has never bothered her, but when her brother, the Yard’s [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm
Apr 152014
 
Review: The Secrets of Mia Danvers by Robyn DeHart

The Secrets of Mia Danvers by Robyn DeHart Book #1 in Dangerous Liaisons Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery Publication Date: June 18th 2013 E-Book Purchased from Amazon and InterMix Synopsis from Goodreads: A lone witness finds her protector… Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime. Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 15, 2014 at 9:39 am
Apr 112014
 
Mini Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Because of the amount of books I read most months, I don’t get to review everything for the blog.  The Mini Review Catch Up is my place to give you a little information about some of my other reads and whether or not I would recommend them without going into tons of detail.  This time I have four very different reads to spotlight and I’ll let you know whether they were good, bad, or just plain ugly! The Good   Delilah: The Making of Red by Jessica Sorensen Book #2.5 in Nova Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance Publication Date: March 18th 2014 E-Book Purchased [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm
Apr 102014
 
Tropes from Hell: When Character Names Distract

Welcome to our feature where we discuss common and overused themes (a.k.a tropes) that are making the rounds in the book world these days. Today, we discuss character names that distract the reader from the story. Have you ever refused to read a book just because of a name? I know I have. It may sound petty but sadly, we readers also judge a book by the names of their characters (recently, AH read a book description where the main character’s name made her think of a cow…do you think she’ll be picking that one up?) We know that names [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 10, 2014 at 6:51 am
Apr 092014
 
Early Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Early Release Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa Release date: April 15, 2014 Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Horror Book provided by NetGalley and Harlequin Teen Synopsis from Goodreads: VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. MONSTER Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 9, 2014 at 7:00 am
Apr 082014
 
Genre Book Showdown: Ghost Seer vs Spirited

We have a haunted installment this time as two new series featuring women that can communicate with ghosts debuted in 2014.  Mary Behre’s Spirted goes head-to-head with Robin D. Owens’ Ghost Seer in this Genre Book Showdown!  Which ghostly tale will take home the trophy?  Read on to find out.   The Contenders: Spirited by Mary Behre Book #1 in Tidewater Genre: Paranormal Romance Publication Date: March 4th 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Berkley Sensation Synopsis from Goodreads: She’s running from who she is…… All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life—preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s talent for communicating with the dead has brought [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 8, 2014 at 7:00 am
Apr 072014
 
Re-Release Review: Circle of Desire by Keri Arthur

Re-Release Review: Circle of Desire by Keri Arthur Book 3 in The Damask Circle series Release date: April 1, 2014 (previously published in 2001 & 2009) Book provided by NetGalley and Dell Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy Synopsis from Goodreads: A TEMPTING FATE Two children have been found dead, their souls torn from their bodies. Two more are missing, and Ethan Morgan’s niece is one of them. A dedicated cop, Ethan has every intention not only of bringing her back alive but of catching the monster behind these kidnappings. And he will use anyone and everyone to achieve those aims—even [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 7, 2014 at 7:09 am
Apr 062014
 
ReRelease Review: Jane's Melody by Ryan Winfield

Jane’s Melody by Ryan Winfield Genre: Romance, Contemporary Publication Date: April 8th 2014 Original Pub Date: June 16 2013 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Atria Books Synopsis from Goodreads: What boundaries would you cross for true love? That’s the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter’s death—only to find herself falling for him. A sexy but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane’s Melody follows a forty-year-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone. [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm
Apr 052014
 
{Sci-Fi Saturday} Double Feature: The Ophelia Prophecy and Under Nameless Stars

In today’s Science Fiction Saturday, I bring you not one but two very different sci-fi reads.  Sharon Lynn Fisher’s science fiction romance The Ophelia Prophecy is a must read for adults while Christian Schoon’s Under Nameless Stars is more appropriate for middle-grade and YA readers who are crazy for aliens.   The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher Genre: Science Fiction Romance Publication Date: April 1st 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Tor Books  Synopsis from Goodreads: Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters — the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 5, 2014 at 7:00 am
Apr 042014
 
Featured Author Friday: Sharon Lynn Fisher

We’re back with another introduction to an author that you might not know about.  This month’s Featured Author Friday is running a little early so that we can showcase phenomenal SF romance talent Sharon Lynn Fisher and her upcoming release The Ophelia Prophecy.  Read on to learn more about Sharon and her fantastic worlds and characters!  Be sure to come back tomorrow and check out our review of The Ophelia Prophecy in Science Fiction Saturdays.   Sharon Lets Us Into Her World! Badass Book Reviews: How did you begin writing and what made you choose the science fiction genre, Sharon? Sharon Lynn Fisher: [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 4, 2014 at 7:00 am
Apr 032014
 
New Release Review: Cold Iron by D.L. McDermott

Cold Iron by D.L. McDermott Book #1 in Cold Iron Genre: Paranormal Romance Publication Date: February 10th 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Pocket Star Synopsis from Goodreads: The Fae, the Good Neighbors, the Fair Folk, the Aes Sídhe, creatures of preternatural beauty and seduction. Archaeologist Beth Carter doesn’t believe in them. She’s always credited her extraordinary ability to identify ancient Celtic sites to hard work and intuition—until she discovers a tomb filled with ancient treasure but missing a body. Her ex-husband, the scholar who stifled her career to advance his own, is unconcerned. Corpses don’t fetch much on the antiquities market. [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 3, 2014 at 8:59 am
Apr 022014
 
Group Review: Romancing by Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare Series: Castles Ever After #1 Genre: Historical Romance Release Date: Jan 28, 2014 Audiobook narrated by Carmen Rose As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities. And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one. Ugly duckling turned swan? Abducted by handsome highwayman? Rescued from drudgery by charming prince? No, no, and… Heh.  Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 2, 2014 at 6:37 am
Apr 012014
 
Spotlight on April's New Releases

Welcome to our monthly feature where we take a look at the books releasing in April and offer up our top picks and opinions. We have chosen 40 of our most anticipated new releases. The release dates are on a best known basis and are not guaranteed. Books may get delayed or sometimes even released earlier so please check with your favorite store to ensure availability. Now, on to the books!   Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (#1 in Dorothy Must Die) – Expected Publication: April 14th 2014 by Pocket Star Ghost Seer by Robin D. Owens (#1 in Ghost Seer) [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on April 1, 2014 at 7:00 am
Mar 312014
 
Early Review: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum

Early Release Review: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum Release date: April 18, 2014 Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult Book provided by NetGalley and Adams Media/Merit Press Synopsis from Goodreads: Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It’s her life: Dad’s a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on March 31, 2014 at 7:00 am
Mar 302014
 
The Badass Bulletin - March Edition

Welcome to our monthly Badass Bulletin feature! Here you’ll find all our happenings and reviews for the month in one place. March was a busy month for us but we still found time to slip in some great reads! What were some of your favorite reads for the month? Share with us in the comments Reviews: We reviewed fourteen (14) books this month and founds a few outstanding stories. We all loved Night Broken and gushed all about it in our group review.  AH found a sexy troll in Stolen Songbird and Christal covets the church griffin from Half-Off Ragnarok.  DG highly [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on March 30, 2014 at 7:00 am
Mar 282014
 
Featured Author Friday + Giveaway: Shannon Richard

Welcome back to this month’s Featured Author Friday! Most people are familiar with the more established authors but this feature focuses on introducing some of our favorite authors that you might not know about. Today is the wonderful and talented Shannon Richard! Shannon currently writes the contemporary romance series, Country Roads, and is working on a brand new book, I Run to You. Read on to learn more about Shannon and her books!   It’s Time to Pick Shannon’s Brain! Badass Book Reviews: Welcome, Shannon!  So, how did you begin writing and what made you choose the contemporary romance genre? Shannon Richard: [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on March 28, 2014 at 7:00 am
Mar 272014
 
Early Review: Sempre: Redemption by J.M. Darhower

Early Review: Sempre: Redemption by J. M. Darhower Book 2 in Forever series Release date: April 1, 2014 Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Book provided by Edelweiss and Gallery Books Synopsis from Goodreads: In this thrilling and sexy follow-up to Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow. Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have been through a lot. Haven was taken in by Carmine’s father, and with his family’s help, she escaped a gruesome fate. However, saving Haven from the dark intentions [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on March 27, 2014 at 7:00 am
Mar 262014
 
New Release Review: Saving Quinton by Jessica Sorensen

Saving Quinton by Jessica Sorensen Book #2 in Nova Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Publication Date: February 4th 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing Synopsis from Goodreads: Nova Reed can’t forget him-Quinton Carter, the boy with the honey-brown eyes who made her realize she deserved more than an empty life. His pain was so similar to her own. But Nova has been coming to terms with her past and healing, while Quinton is out there somewhere, sinking deeper. She’s determined to find him and help him . . . before it’s too late. Nova has haunted his dreams for [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on March 26, 2014 at 9:33 am