Review of Upcoming Release True by Erin McCarthy

Book Cover

Pre-order from Amazon: True

Release Date: May 7, 2013

True by Erin McCarthy

Book Description (from Amazon)

A New Adult novel from USA Today bestselling author Erin McCarthy

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost… 

Book Review

I just finished the most wonderful story

This is my first time reading Erin McCarthy’s work and wow! I am impressed. I read this book in one day, and that’s unusual for me. Rory Macintosh’s witty point-of-view is what kept my initial interest; then the unlikely relationship that emerges between Rory and Tyler Mann just took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride that was so worth it!

College years are tough, and apparently, today, being a virgin doesn’t help your social status one bit.  The story introduces readers to twenty-year-old Rory, whose virginal status becomes public knowledge at a Friday night party.  Rory isn’t a social butterfly compared to her roommates, Jessica and Kylie, and she’s never had a boyfriend. Rory’s always been focused on her academic studies and obtaining a medical degree, but it isn’t as if she doesn’t want to date or even have a make out session with a guy; she just hasn’t met anyone whose interested. However, when a drunken guy tries to sexually assault her at this party, Rory is rescued by the local tattooed, pierced Tyler, who intervenes.  Still in shock from the incident, Rory inadvertently confesses to her roommates and everyone around that she is still a virgin.

Having had too much to drink and being in a dangerous neighborhood gives Rory an incentive to accept Tyler’s offer to drive her home. She is initially intimidated by him, but as they talk during the drive, she begins to realize that he’s not so different from her after all.  Because they each come from families where the physical expression of love and affection was rarely shown, they both keep others at a distance. She starts to relax around him until he begins to question her about her virginity.

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Her defensive response elicits a laugh for him making her feel that he doesn’t see her as a “freak.” Rory often feels out of place because of her social awkwardness and her inability to always understand the dynamics of human behavior.

She reminds me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory who is well-known for his dispassionate, scientific-like observation of others.

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The story is told from Rory’s-point-of-view, and her insightful observations, witticism, and sarcasm bring realness to her character on a level that resonated with me. She is WYSIWYG: (what you see is what you get). There is nothing superficial about her. She’s logical and methodical, and at times too literal in her thinking, and she doesn’t always feel inhibited about sharing these thoughts either.

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However, Rory is never mean-spirited; she tries hard to see the good in people, which makes her such a likeable character. McCarthy’s writing is refreshing and entertaining in her portrayal of Rory and in the playful bantering with Tyler as they become friends.

At first Rory is suspicious of Tyler. Instead of just dropping her off at her dorm after the night of the party, he stops by to check when she has a massive hangover; he drops by to see her at work, and he suggests they study together, and just hang out.

She could never imagine that Tyler, would be interested in her, yet his flirting and sexual innuendo suggest otherwise. When he finally lets her know he wants to move beyond flirting, she finally gives in being swayed by his memorable kisses.  She even expects that making out with him will lead to sex, but instead he takes her home. His behavior doesn’t fit with his reputation as a one to have casual sex with no strings, and she feels a sense of rejection that he didn’t try harder to get her into bed.

Thinking that Tyler and Rory have slept together, Jessica and Kylie drunkenly discuss the deal the financial deal they made with Tyler to have him “de-virginize” her. When Rory overhears their conversation, she is devastated by the news. Her pain is so heart-wrenching, I ached for her.

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She lets her friends think Tyler fulfilled his end of the bargain and doesn’t expect to hear from him again. Surprisingly, Tyler continues to text her and makes efforts to see her, expressing his disappointment when she avoids him. She has a hard time reconciling this warm-hearted, seemingly genuine guy with the one willingly took money to seduce her.

When Tyler takes her to his house unexpectedly, thinking there is an emergency, Rory begins to have a deeper understanding of Tyler’s true character. He lives in squalor with his younger brothers and alcoholic, drug addicted mother. He carries the burden of taking care of his brothers while working and going to school to get a degree as an EMT. This isn’t his ideal career choice, but he knows it will enable him to secure a decent job and be able to take his brothers away from their dysfunctional living situation.

Rory admires Tyler’s protective nature of his brothers and his perseverance to overcome such overwhelming obstacles. Seeing Tyler in this vulnerable state, feeling ashamed and embarrassed, is a primary factor in solidifying their relationship into one of more than just friendship.

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Like Rory, I just wanted to wrap my arms around Tyler and his brothers and hug them for what they have to endure.

As they continue to spend time together, Rory realizes she’s fallen in love with Tyler and she’s ready to take the next step in becoming intimate with him. When she blurts out that she loves him, Tyler decides to bolt.

As they continue to spend time together, Rory realizes she’s fallen in love with Tyler and she’s ready to take the next step in becoming intimate with him. When she blurts out that she loves him, Tyler decides to bolt. Yet, Rory bravely tracks him down and just lays it all on the line, her hurt, frustration, insecurities, and her desire for him. Her boldness compels Tyler to be just as forthcoming, and he reveals his true motivation for the bargain he made with her roommates, as well as the love he feels for her, even though he doesn’t feel worthy of her love. Their raw honesty with each other is so refreshing to me.

As we all know, when the conflict ends, the story ends, and it isn’t time for that to happen. While Rory is home for Christmas break, she receives shocking news that Tyler has gotten himself into serious trouble, with serious consequences that will change his life and the future of their relationship.

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This is a powerful, believable story that sucked me in from the beginning and didn’t let go until the very end. I have to admit, I wasn’t satisfied with ending. I wanted an epilogue; I wanted something more.  Actually, there’s nothing  wrong with the ending. In fact, it’s appropriate considering that this looks to be the start of a series with Jessica’s story the focus of the next book. I’m sure the continuing thread of their relationship will be incorporated into her story. I just wasn’t ready for the experience to be over.

I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Group/Signet Romance via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

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About Erin McCarthy

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog. (from Goodreads)

Author Links

Erin McCarthy Website

Twitter

Goodreads Profile

Facebook

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Music to Complement the Book

Sound Garden “Truly, Madly, Deeply”

To post a comment, please click on the green link “Leave a Comment” located after the tags at the bottom of this post.

New Release and Review of Headed for Trouble by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters) (eBook)

Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters) (Book)

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters # 16.5) by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Description

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann, whom USA Today calls “the reigning queen of military suspense,” breaks out a rapid-fire collection of pulse-pounding, heart-tugging stories and novellas featuring the intrepid men and women of Troubleshooters Inc., fiction’s hottest ultimate counterterrorism squad.
 
• Tough-as-nails Troubleshooters operative Sam Starrett learns the agony of loving someone in danger—and the hell of waiting on the home front—as his wife, Alyssa, hurtles into a foreign hotspot that’s about to boil over.
 
• Navy SEAL Frank O’Leary’s ill-fated holiday reunion with his older brother takes a turn for the better—when a chance encounter on a rainy New Orleans street gives Frank a reason to be thankful after all.
 
• In a maze of tunnels deep beneath a military base in Germany, Jules Cassidy, Alyssa Locke, and their comrades in arms match wits with terrorists on a mission with explosive consequences.
 
Plus more never-before-released adventures featuring Jenk, Izzy, Gillman, Lopez, Kenny, Savannah, and other members of SEAL Team 16—along with Suzanne Brockmann’s exclusive interviews with her beloved characters.
 
Looking for the best kind of trouble? You’ve found it!

Watch the Book Trailer

*****

Book Review

If you are a fan of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series, you will enjoy reading the variety of short works ranging from character sketches, descriptive scenes of characters in action, to lengthier short stories. Even if you haven’t read the series, you can appreciate the book and get an introduction to the author’s writing style and her amazing ability for character development. Reading this anthology may be all the motivation needed to start this series.

There are currently sixteen books that comprise the Troubleshooter’s series. Brockmann provides a timeline and brief description of each book to either introduce you or remind you of the ongoing plot sequence and numerous characters involved. At the start of each story, readers are given a time frame to help understand how these short pieces fit into the overall story line.

A sampling of my favorites from this collection:

“When Frank Met Rosie” –Readers get greater insight into Frank O’Leary’s character and background, learning more about his thoughts and feelings beyond his military role. His encounter with Rosie is a great reminder that we have to embrace the opportunity for love when it knocks on our door, no matter how inconvenient the timing may be.

“Waiting”-A heart-wrenching look at what families of those serving out of country emotionally endure on a regular basis, never knowing if their loved ones are safe. While taking care of his daughter at home while his wife Alyssa is away on a mission, Sam learns that her group has come under fire and the wait begins to find out whether she has been injured or worse. Brockmann shows the fear, worry, and absolute helplessness that Same feels for the woman he loves. It’s hard to be calm and patient under these almost unbearable circumstances.

“Interview with Tom and Kelly” –I loved these protagonists from the first book, Unsung Hero, in the series, and it was nice to learn more about how their relationship has progressed since the resolution of their story.

“Trapped”-Wow! This story will give readers a good idea of how Brockmann builds suspense in her writing.  The plot sequence of starting in the middle of the story and then using a flashback before moving forward toward the end kept me uncertain of what to expect and minimized the predictability of the work.

“Shane’s Last Stand”-a poignant novella showing Shane Laughlin’s willingness to do what’s right no matter what the personal cost. He is truly an admirable character.

In addition, Suzanne peppers the anthology with details about her thought process in character development and themes.

It is  a great anthology that allowed me to read short bits at a time and really savor my experience with these characters.

I received an ARC copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Ballantine Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

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About Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne

Suzanne Brockmann is the author of nearly 50 romance and romantic suspense novels, including her wildly popular 15-books-and-counting Troubleshooters series. She also wrote the popular Tall, Dark & Dangerous series for Silhouette Intimate Moments.

In her free time she likes to sing and do volunteer work. She is a proud member of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) as well as many other equality groups. (from Goodreads)

Author Links

Suzanne Brockmann Website

Goodreads  Profile

Twitter

Facebook

*****

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Music to Complement the Book

A Special, heartfelt thank you to troops from all U.S. Military Branches and their families for the daily sacrifices they make for our protection!

Toby Keith: “American Soldier”

SHeDAISY : ” Come Home Soon” – Official Video

Start the Troubleshooter Series Now!

UnSungHerobookcover

Purchase on Amazon:The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooter) (ebook) or The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, Book 1) (book)

To leave a comment, click the small, green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of A Marked Man by Stella Cameron

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: A Marked Man

A Marked Man by Stella Cameron

Book Description

Once accused
When Max Savage opens his practice in a remote, seductively beautiful bayou town, he hopes it’s the start of a new life. He’s got his reputation as a skilled surgeon, his two brothers by his side and a fresh chance. But soon Max discovers he can’t escape a past riddled with accusations of murder…or the faces of two dead women. Especially since another woman is missing, and he was the last to see her alive.

Always suspected
Annie Duhon knows all about nightmares that shatter life’s dreams and the need to escape the past. But her fascination with Max grows, even when disturbing rumors start to surface and her darkest visions seem to play out in living color. Can she trust Max with her secrets and her deepest desires? Or is he the specter she sees when she sleeps—a killer stalking women with his cleansing fire? Is she about to become his next victim?

Book Review

Suspenseful. Puzzling. Confusing. Disturbing. Those four adjectives sum up my opinion of this book.  The story is set in the rural parish of Toussaint, Louisiana. The focus of the book appears to center around Annie Duhon and Dr. Max Savage. Both characters have moved to Toussaint to escape their pasts and start new lives. Both have secrets from their past that they don’t want revealed.

Suspenseful:

Readers are first introduced to Annie.  We learn early on something traumatic has happened to her in her hometown, and residents have impugned her characte,r forcing her to leave and never return. The mystery behind what happened to her kept me interested in reading further.

Dr. Max Savage, his twin Roche, and Kelly, the oldest half-brother are establishing a posh medical clinic. The brothers have chosen to accompany Max in starting this clinic, since he was forced to leave New York  to escape his infamous reputation as a suspected killer of two women with whom he was involved. He was never convicted of the accused crimes because of lack of evidence. Max believes was set up but no idea who would want to destroy his life.   So far, no one in Toussaint knows about his past, and he plans to keep it this way.

When the story opens, Max and Annie have already met and established a friendship. Max doesn’t want to advertise this to the town because he fears whoever is after him will hurt Annie just like with his past girlfriends.  The attraction is there, but it lacks the sexual tension that really enhances a story involving romance. In fact, I don’t even know if this book should be categorized as “romance.” I’ll explain why later in this review.

Soon, suspicion points to Max as the killer. The sheriff checks into Max’s background and the truth becomes common knowledge to everyone in the parish. Even though a body hasn’t been found yet, Max becomes the number one suspect. Will anyone believe he is innocent as he claims to be, especially Annie?  Is he really guilty of murder? If not who is the real murderer? What motivates the killer to set Max up to take the fall? Max tells Annie, “Someone hates me enough to want to ruin my life. And they don’t care if other people die to make sure it happens.” 

When a woman turns up missing, suspicion points to Max as the killer. The sheriff checks into Max’s background, and his past becomes public
Even though a body hasn’t been found, Max becomes the number one suspect.

The plot involves numerous events that kept me engaged, searching for clues and answers to these questions.  Throw in Wazoo, an eccentric character who claims to have the gift of prophecy, practices hoodoo, and constantly provides cryptic clues throughout the entire story, and you have an intense and suspenseful main plot. These are the main reasons I decided to finish this book.

Puzzling and Confusing:

I found significant flaws with the plot that hindered my enjoyment. First of all the author introduces too many characters into the story. Do we really need to know about everyone in the parish?

Including all these extraneous characters just creates confusion, with too many sub-plots, some which are irrelevant. For example, do we really need to know about the conflicts among the Sheriff’s family? Is Father Cyrus’s relationship with his assistant, Madge, necessary? These sub-plots also create multiple point-of-views that can confuse readers.

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Disturbing:

Inconsistent character development was an issue for me. This mainly occurs in the two scenes involving sex. For example, Annie is depicted as shy and reserved. Yet, she becomes controlling, demanding, and angry when she initiates sex with Max. Even Max is surprised: “This was unbelievable. Where had this new wild woman come from?”  Her actions even affect the calm, gentle Max who becomes aggressive in his pursuit of her: “Oh, no you don’t,” Max said. “You want it. You asked for it and you’re going to get it because you made sure I don’t have a choice anymore.”  Did a rape just occur?

Usually cases of rape are black and white for me. If, at any point, a woman says “no” or “stop”, but the man doesn’t  then it’s rape. But in this story, it’s unclear. Annie urges Max on, never says stop, but after it’s over,  she quickly leaves Max and rushes away to take a shower. She never comes out to talk to Max afterwards.  Later, she admits to herself that she wanted to have sex with Max. The entire incident is bizarre and disturbing for me.

The second sexual encounter takes place between Max’s twin Roche and journalist Lee O’Brien. O’Brien, the local journalist, is looking for a good story. She’s heard about Max’s past, and she wants to uncover the truth. Getting close to one of the brothers is her way of doing this. When she takes a tour of the clinic with Roche, the entire scene is just downright creepy. There is such ambivalence about whether rape occurs. Roche seems intent on having sex with Lee and even becomes rough with her, but she admits she wants it, even though she’s afraid: “Her heart beat painfully but excitement wiped out any reluctance.” There are numerous types of similar quotes throughout the scene, and I just don’t know what to think. I just don’t see this book as “romantic.”

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Obviously, I have mixed feelings about the book, and it was one of those reads where I’m ambivalent about whether I liked the book.

Rating:

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

 

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If you have read this book, what did you think?  If you choose to read it in the future, please leave me a comment of your take on the story. 

To leave a comment you can click on the green link “Leave a Comment” located after the tags at the bottom of this post.


Cover Reveal, Book Promo & Giveaway for Chrysalis

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CHRYSALIS
YA Paranormal Novel
Set to release Summer 2013
Add to Goodreads

About The Book:

After the war between Man and the Supernatural. The world settled back into a harmonious rhythm. Man and Preternatural existing side by side, building a society that was technologically advanced and beneficial to both kinds. Ruled by ThunderKins(Children of the Sun). But there was dissatisfaction in several of the Divisions one of Fire and the other Rain. (Fire) Division did not accept the rule of ThunderKin. The Thunderkin heir was targeted for destruction, believing this would cause the Thunderkin rule to be overthrown. So Chaos was birth and Chaos had a name….Ayda

Ayda Blackhawk was the beautiful, mysterious new girl at Eagle Ridge High School, in the Mountain Division of the New World, She was not there to make friends but to bring destruction. Her assignment? To kill the Thunderkin heir. But Ayda meets Adrian the ThunderKin leader, and through a twist of fate, the rules change which places Ayda, Adrian and their world at the cross roads to either destruction or redemption

The cover was created by the amazing (Amy Rooney-CVWriterDesigns)
Website: http://www.courtneyvail.com/

Photography by the fantabulous (Tiffany McDonald- Anecdote Photography)
Website: http://www.anecdotephotography.com/home.html

Big Hug and Much Gratitude to the very awesome duo Models
Jessica Becerra – FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/jessica.becerra12?fref=ts
And Javier Gonzales – https://www.facebook.com/#!/javier.gonzalez.1804?fref=ts


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Michelle Cornwell-Jordan is a Young Adult/ New Adult author.Her titles include a co-written work with Danny Jones calledReahket, her solo young adult novella series Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy and a contribution to the HerStory Anthology released March 08th2013(Pagans Writers Press)

She is also the producer/host of the online radio segment, IndieReview Behind the Scenes, where she and her co-host Jamie B Musings interview Indie authors and musicians.

Michelle has been married for seventeen years and has a fourteen-year-old daughter. A book lover, her favorite genre has always been paranormal adventures.

Find out more about her on her website http://michellecjordan.wix.com/author#!

Follow her on twitter at @mcjordan37

Fan her on FaceBook at IndieWritersreview YA blog http://www.facebook.com/pages/Indiewritersreview-YA-blog/243295842393117

And FaceBook at IndieReview Behind The Scenes Internet Radio

https://www.facebook.com/#!/IndiereviewBehindTheScenes?fref=ts

Website | Twitter | Facebook | IndieReview Behind The Scenes


Giveaway

Click on the link below to enter to win the following Prize Pack
$25 iTunes Gift card and Signed paperback of Chrysalis when it releases  June 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

To leave a comment you can click on the green link “Leave a Comment” located after the tags at the bottom of this post.

Sneak Peek and Review of Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace

Book Cover

Pre-Order on Amazon: Midnight Secrets: The Wildefire Series (Wildfire) (eBook)

 Midnight Secrets: The Wildefire Series (book)

Release Date: April 30: 2013

Midnight Secrets (Wildefire #1)  by Ella Grace

Book Description

For fans of Maya Banks, Allison Brennan, and Lori Foster, a thrilling new romantic suspense novel from Ella Grace

AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS

 On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.

 Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own.

Book Review

Midnight Secrets is the first book in Ella Grace’s new Wildefire Series. This debut novel  is  well-developed, combining mystery, suspense,  and romance that covers a time span of eighteen years. Through flashbacks and ample exposition, the author immerses readers into the fictitious lives of the prominent Wilde family and prepares them  for the rest of the series.

The setting for this series is Midnight, Alabama, a small, overall, peaceful southern town, until Beckett Wilde apparently kills his wife Maggie, and then commits suicide. Left behind and forever emotionally scarred are ten-year-old triplets: Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina who are raised by their grandfather, Daniel Wilde.

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The suspense-filled prologue takes readers back eighteen years ago to the night of the alleged murder-suicide, describing the event as it actually occurred and establishing the mystery behind the couple’s deaths that serves as one of the main conflicts explored throughout the remainder of the book.

Midnight Secrets is Savannah’s story and starts with a flashback to the Wilde sisters’ teenage years, where Savannah is depicted as quiet and reserved. Unlike her sisters, Savannah doesn’t have much experience with boys until Zach Tanner enters her life by rescuing her from a dangerous situation. Their immediate attraction to each other leads to a sweet, tender romance between this unlikely couple. Zach’s lower socio-economic background and his reputation as a town troublemaker make him feel unworthy of being with someone like Savannah. However, she is wise enough to look beyond the gossip and see the goodness in Zach.

When Zach leaves for a stint in the U.S. Army, Savannah is crushed when he leaves without saying goodbye or staying in contact with her. The flashback ends with Savannah questioning why Zach would behave in this unexpected manner.  Although, the beginning of the book starts off slowly with this back story, it is needed to transition to the present where Savannah and Zach will meet again, thus establishing a second major conflict in the book.

Savannah, now an assistant district attorney in Nashville, is forced to take time off from her job, and she reluctantly returns home to Midnight to settle the Wilde estate, since her grandfather has died. She dreads going home because of the sadness from her childhood that still haunts her and because she knows she will inevitably run into Zach Turner, Midnight’s new police chief.

Their initial meeting is awkward and tense. However, alternating between Savannah’s and Zach’s point-of-views, the author makes it evident that both characters still care deeply about each other and deep down wish there could be a second chance. Zach seeks redemption for abandoning Savannah, but her wounds are deep. Both have kept surprising secrets from the other that must be revealed before their relationship can truly move forward.

Circumstances are presented that lead Savannah and Zach to work together, first to solve a series of break-ins and vandalism around town and then to uncover the truth behind the death of Savannah’s parents. As they spend more time together, the sexual tension between them leads to the rekindling of a more mature, sexier, and steamier romance.

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The pace of the story  picks up after Savannah begins investigating how her parents really died. Samantha and Sabrina are brought back into the story, along with some of Zach’s former Army buddies as they all work together to unravel the mystery. Unexpected twists and turns keep readers engrossed in the story and guessing about the outcome. Although the resolution of the parents’ deaths is somewhat predictable, the author did keep me on my toes by trying to figure out who was involved. I was disappointed, however, by the underlying motivation for killing, which I thought to be petty and shallow.

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Overall, this was a satisfying read because of the  in-depth plot and well-rounded characters that bring the story to life. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Midnight Lies, which is Samantha’s story.

I received an ARC copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Ballantine Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

About the Author

Ella Grace

Biography

Ella Grace is a writer of steamy southern suspense, wife, mother of five fur-kids and one reclusive turtle. She loves to write, read, cook the occasional meal, go to the movies and travel when she can. She’s thrilled to be writing a series based in her home state of Alabama.

Ella Grace is the pen name for NYT Bestselling Author Christy Reece.

Author Links

Ella Grace Official Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Watch Book Trailer

Please see the Ella Grace Official Website to Learn More about Midnight Secrets

To leave a comment, click the small, green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Cover Reveal and Book Promo: Empyreal Illusions: Book One of the Inferno Unleashed Series

Empyreal Illusions by Jake Bonsignore (E-Book Small)

Title: Empyreal Illusions: Book One of the Inferno Unleashed Series

AuthorJake Bonsignore

Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopian

Release Date: May 2013 (eBook) / July 2013 (paperback)

Book Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography

Goodreads Link: Empyreal Illusions

Book Description

A THIN LINE SEPARATES JUSTICE FROM REVENGE….

 Fourteen-year-old Breena Taljain’s dreary existence in the slums of Purgaire comes to a sudden end when a chance encounter with a criminal mastermind known as the Patriarch goes horridly wrong. His assault on her for refusing to pay for her mother’s addiction leaves her comatose and teetering on the edge of life and death.

Galbrecht Atalir is a washed-up doctor struggling to overcome his inner demons through alcohol and aggression. He never quite recovered from the unsolved murder of his family seven years prior. When he discovers Breena as his newest patient, he knows at once that the Patriarch is the one who eluded him for almost a decade.

The medicine Galbrecht gives Breena draws her into a heavenly paradise. When it ebbs away, though, the recurring trauma plunges her into treacherous hinterlands. There, Breena must learn to find power in courage, hope, and love to overcome fiends of hatred bent on permanently ending her existence.

With justice burning in his heart, Galbrecht begins a race against time to seek out the Patriarch in the underworld before Breena loses her struggle against the ever-darkening terrors of her mind….

Excerpt from Empyreal Illusions

“Make it two more shots, will you?”

Galbrecht Atalir slid a coin across the counter and watched with unnerving patience as Korvan greedily scooped it up. He tilted his head from side to side until he heard the bones in his neck crack and ran a hand through his greased hair. He had not yet reached his limits. Thirteen hearty gulps of The Laughing Banshee’s strongest whiskey had filled his gut with comfortable warmth. It also made him the center of attention for a handful of unkempt thugs. They knew better than to trouble him, though. They had seen him fight before. All he wanted was to down another half-dozen shots and return to the broken pallet in his shack. It was not too much to ask for, really.

His days had grown increasingly meaningless as of late and his evenings were no better. Sometimes, only the idea of wasting his liver away on the cheap liquor The Laughing Banshee offered kept him going. He could scarcely remember the last time he felt joy or saw beauty in the little things the world had to offer.

The chains that bind us, Galbrecht thought wryly. He casually offered a slight nod of thanks to Korvan as he finally brought more liquor. They have to break eventually.

“Took you long enough, Korvan,” he stated matter-of-factly. He exhaled deeply and let his aggression exude out his pores.

The barkeep shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a busy man. One of my girls walked out on me today and I haven’t found a replacement.”

Galbrecht ignored him and took another shot that sent a river of fire down his belly. Who was he trying to fool? He would forget his past once he started believing in a benevolent God. That, he knew, would never happen. A man did not lose everything as he had and still have conviction. Faith was a clutch for the weak and an excuse for the depraved. No superior being worthy of devotion would have forced thirty-six years of hell upon him.

Each day was typically harder than the last. He was certain he would reach his breaking point soon. What will another day at the hospital bring next?

Galbrecht toiled away in the rundown facility in western Purgaire from sunrise to sunset. The reason for becoming a doctor in the first place grew more indistinct with each passing day. After each shift he retreated into alcoholism. He had long since grown sick of Purgaire and his meaningless existence. Perhaps it was time to give up his mad mission and return to Aghiddo. He was wrong to think he could always stay away.

So that’s your answer? You will accept defeat and crawl back there? Pitiful!

Aghiddo was the place where his spirit had died almost a decade ago. Life had ceased to have any purpose for him then. Would it be any different this time around?

I doubt it.

Galbrecht exhaled deeply and drank from the other shot glass. Liquor was the only panacea for his troubling memories. Deep down, he knew that he could not push them aside forever. No amount of alcohol amended the past. Bringing dozens of the sick and wounded back from the brink of death did not, either. There was just something about tending to the infirm that made moving on impossible.

He had not always been this way, though. Once he had looked forward to a promising future. He had had a loving wife, two beautiful daughters, and a cozy home. What more could one ask for? Like most good things, though, his comfortable life in Aghiddo came to a terrible, sudden end seven years ago. He could not forget that fateful moment when he returned from work to find his home ransacked and the halls saturated with blood….

Something inside Galbrecht—then, Ghariel Lodan—snapped that day. His conviction in the world had crumbled. How could it be otherwise when his family perished under torture? Nobody deserved such a fate. Was he supposed to accept his losses and move on? Facing reality had never been harder. He had kissed Adine goodbye earlier that morning; who would have known that his wife would be a broken ragdoll just hours later? His daughters had not fared better, either. Jaila and her younger sister, Relyn, had always been so energetic. To see their fragile limbs bent at humanly impossible angles had been scarring.

Even now, reminiscing threatened to push him into an outrage.

A blunt object had crushed their bones and organs. A closer inspection of their welts and fractures told Galbrecht it was a chain. The mere thought of how they had suffered still sent shivers down his spine. Whoever had killed them had purposely dragged it out.

The constables had ceased the investigation after a few weeks. They told him the lack of evidence made it pointless. Why waste their time on a case when there was nothing for them to gain in return? Favors did not come free anywhere. He was mad to think otherwise, they insisted. Of course, that was their excuse for everything. Life goes on, they had said.

The hell it does, he recalled replying. They were not there when he cremated his family and scattered their ashes in the quiet lake where Adine had agreed to marry him. The constables did not have to live with the guilt of being apart in their darkest hour. He had vowed that proper justice would be his.

His quest to find the truth soon became a maddening obsession. He began to roam the streets at night and created an alternate persona to blend in with the seedy underworld of Aghiddo. He swore to find the answers the constables refused to seek out. Until he did, his family would never rest in peace.

Of course, it was not long before the callous, ruthless facade he had created became one with the man he had been in years past.

I’ve embraced darkness to find light and lost my way within.

“Give me two more, Korvan.”

Hear me, wherever you are. I will find you. ‘Why’ doesn’t matter anymore. You can’t elude me for eternity. Someday…someday I’ll climb out of this rut and hunt you anew.

“I said two more.”

Galbrecht glared at him icily and partially rose off his seat. Korvan’s refusal to listen made his blood boil. His stormy demeanor screamed violence.

Korvan sniveled but did exactly as the doctor commanded. He never turned down coins.

“You’ll be reusing the same glasses. Too bad if you don’t like it.”

He threw a silver onto the bar counter. “Oh? And why is that?”

Korvan nodded and began to pour the liquor. “I told you before. One of my girls walked out on me and I’m too busy to make things pretty for you. It’s all going to the same place, so what does it matter?” He paused and rubbed his chin worrisomely. “She’ll see what a mistake it was to walk out that door. She’ll come crying for me to take her back and I won’t.”

Galbrecht ignored him. He finished the trio of shots in rapid succession and sat in silence as more recollections resurfaced. Why? Just give me solace for one evening! Seven years since his family’s horrid butchering had passed without reward, the last three of which he had whittled away in Purgaire. Failure greeted him at every corner. Closure eluded him.

His obsession on finding the one that murdered his family had consumed his life. Eventually, the despair of his countless failures nearly drove him insane. How could someone disappear without a trace?

You’ve given up. You let Purgaire smother you.

Galbrecht ignored the voice of reason and let his memories wash over him again.

Empyreal Illusions by Jake Bonsignore (Wrap)

About the Author

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I have been writing since I was in grade school and had my first novel, Descendant of Strife, published in 2007. It is about an orphaned sorcerer who learns dark secrets of his past that end up entangling him in a secret war between heaven and hell that spans nearly half a millennium.

Becoming an author always been a dream of mine since as far back as I can remember. I think it started, though, with a brief writing exercise I was given in kindergarten. We were supposed to write a two to three sentence story (or maybe a paragraph) to do with Easter. I ended up writing a little over a page. Yep…go figure.

I ended up graduating high school when I was 16 years old and attending St. John’s University in New York for a while. Then I moved to Florida and graduated from the University of South Florida with Magna Cum Laude honors and a BS degree in Business Administration.

I’ve recently completed my 2nd and 3rd novels, Empyreal Illusions and Awakening the Fire (YA fantasy). They are part of The Inferno Unleashed series.

“It takes courage to live, yes, but it takes true bravery to stand your ground in a world aligned against you.”

At one point or another, everybody inevitably feels that they are bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders and their back is giving in. For Breena Taljain, the central protagonist of Empyreal Illusions, it’s as commonplace of a feeling as breathing. Surprisingly enough, the idea for it came to me while I was sitting in the university library before a final exam. I remember writing the first five pages instead of studying but somehow managed to pull off a good grade anyway!

Now I am getting ready to begin my fourth novel, which will be set in an entirely different universe than Empyreal Illusions. It will be a YA romance with a tinge of fantasy. Stay tuned  🙂

Of course, I love reading as much as I do writing. Outside of my literary pursuits, though, I enjoy playing sports and I’m a fitness enthusiast. There’s nothing that a good workout can’t help solve!

Thanks for your support and for being part of the adventure (and what a one it is and will be)!!!

Author Contact Links

Facebookfacebook.com/jakebonsignoreauthor

Twitter: twitter.com/jakebonsignore

Websitehttp://jakebonsignore.wordpress.com

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Purchase on Amazon:Descendant of Strife: Book One of The Swiftblade Saga

To leave a comment you can click on the green link “Leave a Comment” located after the tags at the bottom of this post.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Surviving Raine

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Surviving Raine by Shay Savage

Goodreads Link: Surviving Raine

Genre: Adult Romance

Release Date: May 21, 2013

Book Description

As the captain of a schooner catering to the elite on the Caribbean Seas, Sebastian Stark does his best to avoid any human encounters. Interacting with people isn’t his thing, and he prefers the company of a bottle of vodka, a shot glass, and maybe a whore. There’s no doubt he’s hiding from a checkered past, but he does well keeping everything to himself…

…until the night his schooner capsizes, and he’s stuck on a life raft with one of the passengers.

Raine’s young, she’s cute, and Bastian would probably be into her if he wasn’t suffering from alcohol withdrawal. As the days pass, DTs, starvation, and dehydration become the norm. Even the most closed person starts to open up when he thinks he’s going to die, but when she realizes their traumatic pasts are connected, it’s no longer the elements that have Bastian concerned.

He has no idea how he’s going to Survive Raine.

***

Bastian isn’t the most pleasant guy Raine could have ended up with in the middle of the ocean with no chance of rescue, but he has an uncanny knack for survival. As she digs through the walls surrounding the stubborn and challenging man, she finds something surprisingly different buried inside…

…and he can answer the question she’s asked for years.

As she learns more about what has brought him to this fate, Raine is determined to drag this self- destructive man back from the edge of the wave. Isolation is her only chance to tear the man out from inside of the animal, but this one has been abused for a long time.

She also has to live long enough to get through to him.

 

Excerpt from Surviving Raine

“What’s your problem?” I snapped again. I hadn’t really meant to, I was just tense and pissy. 

The smoke was helping, but what I really wanted was a drink. I didn’t suppose anyone packed any of those little tiny airplane-sized booze bottles in the survival kits.

“I…um…” she stumbled over her words and looked away. Even under her darkened skin, I could see red creeping into her cheeks.

“What?” I was annoyed now. If she was going to complain about my smoking, I was going to lose it.

“I…have to go to the bathroom.”

I laughed. I took one last long drag, getting it all the way up to the filter before I tossed the butt out onto the waves.

“Then fucking go!”

“Where?”

“Didn’t you notice the en suite bath?” I laughed again, and then took a smidgen of pity on her. “Over the side, where do you think?”

“Well…how?”

All right, she did have a point there. Or rather, she didn’t have a point. Or a pointer. I had to laugh again at my internal joke.

“Just…I don’t know…hang your ass out over the edge. Or get in the water.

Whatever.”

“I’d have to take off my suit.”

“So?”

She blushed again.

“What? You want me to hang out in the next room for a few minutes? I promise I won’t gawk at you.”

She didn’t move. Well, actually, she was still fidgeting around; she just didn’t make a move to actually solve her dilemma. If she kept this up, she was going to pee in the fucking raft.

“If it makes you feel any better, I’ve already checked you out front and back, had my mouth on yours and my hand on your tit, so it’s not like…”

She gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. I realized how what I had said sounded, considering she had been unconscious the entire time. I shook my head.

“I didn’t mean…ah, fuck.” I grabbed my shirt and flopped down on my back, covering my whole face up with the garment. I lay there for a moment but didn’t hear her moving at all, so I yelled at her again. “Get on with it!”

She moved. I could hear her shuffle over to the front of the raft and then move around in one place, presumably taking off her shorts and her bathing suit.

“If you are going to get in the water, put the life preserver around your waist first and hold on to the fucking ladder. I don’t want to have to dive in after your ass again.”

“Okay,” she said. “Um…where is it?”

“Right outside the opening – on the left.”

“Thank you,” she said.

“Whatever.”

I listened to her move around a bit more and then felt her move closer to the opening and off to the side. There was a soft splash, and a minute later I heard her pulling herself back up onto the raft.

“There’s something similar to a towel over there,” I said – flinging my arm out in the
direction of the back of the raft and waving my hand around. “Make sure you dry off the floor, too.”

“Thank you,” she said.

“Whatever.”

I listened to her move around some more, getting pretty fed up with just lying there, baking, with my fucking shirt over my head.

“Are you done yet?”

“Almost,” she said quietly. Her voice still sounded scratchy. “Okay, I’m done.”

I grabbed the shirt off my face and sat up, looking over at her. She was adjusting the straps on her suit and still blushing.

“Do you know why my…um…throat hurts?”

“Yeah,” I said. I didn’t elaborate. After a minute she finally asked.

“Why does my throat hurt?”

“Because you inhaled a shitload of salt water,” I stated. “It fucks up your throat and your vocal cords. Give it a day; it’ll be better.”

“Thank you,” she said, again.

“Whatever,” I replied, again.

I shoved my hand down into the sealed up container for rations and pulled out a carb bar. I tore it in half and threw one of the pieces at her.

“Eat it,” I instructed. “You can have the other half in six hours.”

“Six hours?” she repeated.

“Are you a fucking recorder? Yes, six hours.”

I knew I was being a bastard, but my brain was working overtime trying to figure out what our best course of action might be. Having her here made it ten times more difficult. If it was just me, I was pretty sure I would be fine. There was plenty of food and water for just me. I could fish, I could take care of myself, and I could stay alive under pretty extreme circumstances.

Having her here with me just…complicated everything.

About the Author

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Shay Savage lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, two children, and a variety of household pets.  She is an accomplished public speaker, and holds the rank of Distinguished Toastmaster from Toastmasters International.  When not writing, she enjoys science fiction movies, and loves soccer in any and all forms.  During the fall, she coaches her daughter’s soccer team.  Though she currently works in the technology field, her school background is in psychology, and she brings a lot of that knowledge into the characters within her stories.

Author Contact Links

http://www.shaysavage.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5160667.Shay_Savage

https://twitter.com/Savage7289

https://www.facebook.com/ShaySavage7289

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AP5NNWC/

*****

Giveaway

2 ARC eBook copies of Surviving Raine

&

2 eBook copies of Otherwise Alone

This Giveaway is open to U.S. and International Participants

Click on the link below to enter

Surviving Raine Giveaway

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To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Guest Blogger Review of Lover at Last

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Purchase on Amazon: Lover At Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Kindle) or Lover At Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Book)

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood # 11)  by J.R. Ward

Book Description

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.

Book Review

This is a book you either really love or don’t. The reviews are strong in both directions. In other words.. it is up to you.

I was disappointed. I was confused. I felt a little let down by the author.

LAL was disappointing because I had a preconceived idea of how I hoped this book would unfold and it just didn’t do it. I wanted a lot more of Blay and Quinn and less side threads. That was not what I got. Quinn did not let me down, however, because he was the star of that thread and Blay took a bit of a backseat in the storyline. Blay’s parents made his story thread a success.

The love scenes between these two were very energetic and well described but they lacked the passion I had hoped for. This was due to the lack of emotional commitment on the parts of each of the lovers. Something always held them back just that last little bit. The HEA wasn’t bad, but again missing a sense of completion. There was a ring, there was a party, there was a ceremony but NOT the way you would think for any of them.

I was confused because the book had more than seven character threads running at the same point in time. The dictionary Ward provides at the beginning served no purpose in clearing up the confusion I had in the early stages of reading. There was a thread for Quinn, Blay, Layla, Assail, Trez, Sola, Brotherhood of Bastards, Xcor, the Lessers and a few others. Do you remember Trez’s story or what a shadow is? If so, you may be fine with the story. I found all of these threads both confusing initially, and detracting from Quinn and Blay. Beth, the queen, played a bigger part in the story and it was nice to spend some time with her. The multiple story lines left some endings dangling so the desire to read more BDB is definitely there.

All in all to me, Ward didn’t do Blay justice, barely did Quinn justice and just tried to do too much in one book.

Rating

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

Review by

☼ Sunny

gypsy

Please welcome Sunny as a Guest Blogger for Sun Mountain Reviews. To learn more about Sunny, please read her profile 

To leave a comment, click the small, green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Giveaway & Review of Fate (The Timeless Trilogy) Book 1

 

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Currently Free on Amazon: Timeless Trilogy, Book One, Fate

Fate: Timeless Trilogy, Book 1 by Tallulah Grace

Book Description

Death stalks Kris in dreams and in reality. The target of a cunning serial killer, Kris must defend her life and her love. Visions prepare her for what’s coming, but is knowledge enough to change the future? Or will demented mania claim victory over fated love?

The good things in life are coming together for Kristina Collins. She’s found her ideal home, her career is on track for mega success and the man of her dreams has finally come back into her life.

In Fate, the first installment of the Timeless Trilogy, Kris Collins discovers the benefits and risks of having precognitive visions while being stalked by a serial killer. Her friends can’t help her, the FBI can’t save her; she must save herself.

 The Timeless Trilogy heroines, Kristina, Veronica and Cassandra, each deal with paranormal abilities as they discover and rediscover eternal love

*****

Book Trailer

*****

Book Excerpt

The edge of the blade felt like ice against her skin. One breath too deep, one movement—ever so slight—would give the knife a taste of her blood. It’s a part of the nightmare, she thought, even as she felt the breath of her attacker lightly touch her face.

The nightmares that had been plaguing her for weeks warned of this moment. Images, too terrifying to be real, flashed quickly across her mind’s eye in an instant replay of her recent night terrors. Running down a long, empty hallway, filled with doorways on either side, chased by some unknown monster that knew her deepest fears. Running towards a movie, scrolling incessantly with images of those she loved most trapped in a fiery hell. Sepia-toned faces, twisted in pain, were a stark contrast to the blue, red and yellow of the flames engulfing them. The echoes of their screams filled the dark, never-ending hallway. She couldn’t look away and she couldn’t stop running; her only escape was straight ahead, towards the horror show.

So far, the nightmares ended with her sitting straight up in bed, breathing hard in a cold sweat. He hadn’t caught her yet.

The all too real feeling of cold steel pressed against her neck gave the nightmare an alternate ending. Kris tried to control her breathing so her attacker would think she slept. Her mind raced as she tried to think of a way to reach the loaded SIG waiting beneath the extra pillow beside her. She didn’t always keep a gun so handy, but recent events, including the dreams, made it a necessity.

“Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.” The familiar voice spoke the words softly in her ear.

*****

Book Review

The protagonist Kris seems to have it all: a house on the beach outside of Charleston, South Carolina, a rewarding job as a video editor, and two best friends Veronica (Roni) and Cassie who are always there for her. She also has the unusual gift of being precognitive. All of her life she has had premonitions in the form of dreams or visions of events to come. With this gift, she has the power to step in and alter the outcome of these premonitions.

As the story opens, readers learn that Kris has been having nightmarish dreams in which she is a participant. This has never happened to her before and puts her on guard. She can’t seem to shake the feeling that she is being watched. However, she dismisses these feelings even though she is being constantly observed.

Unknowingly, she has a stalker named Damien.stalkerHe is obsessed with his new “beauty” and is unable to resist the temptation to introduce himself to Kris while she is walking along the beach. Kris’s intuition tells her this man may be dangerous when she shakes his hand:

“Kris dropped his hand like it was hot. Her senses were suddenly on full alert. Trying to be casual, she turned and started walking away, more quickly than necessary. A small voice was telling her to run, but she ignored it.”

Initially, Kris tries to ignore all of the signs that she is being stalked, even when Damien moves beyond merely watching her. He begins leaving her roses on her doorstep and car, making late night phone calls telling her they will be together soon, and even breaking into her house to install video cameras, so she is constantly under his surveillance.

man with rose

The author provides Damien’s point-of-view to provide insight into his twisted mind.  However, I think the story line would have been stronger if readers weren’t given this access to his perpective. His character is a clichéd villain. He never provides any real understanding of his motives for kidnapping and killing or why he chooses Kris to become his latest “beauty.”  Although his thoughts do indicate his obsessive nature, they also contribute to the predictability of the plot.

In the midst of this drama, the author expands the story line to include a romance that ensues between Kris and her old college love, Nick. Fate has intervened through Nick buying the house next door to Kris, thus reuniting the couple.

As they meet over an initial dinner, the reason for their breakup is revealed. In the past, miscommunication caused each of them to feel betrayed by the other. Now, their honesty with each other opens the door for a potential future together. I, somewhat, expected that they would continue to keep their bitterness about the breakup to themselves, creating further conflict between them. I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to discover what really happened in the past and move beyond it, realizing that now they have been given a second chance ten years later.

The story progresses with Nick becoming more prominent in Kris’s life. As they spend more time together, it is obvious the two want to be together. my heart cant tell you no

Unfortunately, the chemistry and sexual tension that so often enhances a romance is lacking between these two. Both characters want to move slowly in the relationship to see how much has changed between them, and this may contribute to that lack of “heat” that I hoped to be present.

I really liked Kris as a heroine. She faces reality head on instead of living in denial. Once she realizes she has a stalker, she confides in Nick and doesn’t hesitate to involve the police. She also has the foresight to learn to use a gun for protection, keeping it with her at all times. I also appreciate the fact that, overall, both Kris and Nick listen to police investigator, Dylan, who is in charge of Kris’s case.

Once Dylan discovers Damien is a serial killer, he brings in the FBI. Now, even though I am by no means an expert in police procedure, I did find fault with some aspects of how the FBI handled catching this killer. One primary example of this is allowing Kris stay with her friend, Cassie, instead of going to an undisclosed safe house. Investigators are already aware that Kris has been to visit Cassie in the past, and Damien could know of Cassie’s location since he has been stalking Kris. Even though Kris does have an agent to protect her during her stay at Cassie’s, the agent stays in a guest bedroom and goes to sleep, as well, at bedtime. Damien’s profile has revealed that his MO is to kidnap victims in the middle of the night while they are asleep, so it is unbelievable to me that the agent would fail to stay awake and guard Kris.

One aspect of the book that I most enjoyed was the periodic visions that Kris experienced. They were descriptive enough to foreshadow events to come, yet also elusive enough to prevent the particulars of the plot to be exposed and keep readers in suspense as to when the events will occur and how much Kris can alter the outcome of these premonitions before they become reality.

Overall, I am glad I read the book. Another editing would have cleaned up some minor grammatical errors, but they are few and did not distract me from the reading experience. The ending seemed abrupt to me, and after such a climatic outcome, I didn’t expect to move straight into an epilogue, but the author does provide resolution.  In Fate, the author provides enough details to interest me in reading the rest of the trilogy,  with each book focusing on Roni’s and Cassie’s stories respectively.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

*****

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Music to Complement the Book:

Peaches & Herb “Reunited”

 

Police “Every Breath You Take”

About the Author

Tallulah Grace is an aficionado of anything paranormal, loves to read a good thriller and creates characters that become friends. Tallulah was born and raised in a small southern town located in the foothills of the vibrant Blue Ridge Mountains. When she’s not developing characters and weaving stories, Tallulah enjoys antiquing and bead-weaving.

Personal Links

Website: http://www.tallulahgrace.com/

Blog: http://www.tallulahspeaks.com/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/TallulahSpeaks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grace.tallulah

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tallulah-Grace/e/B0054XXL36

Book Links

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0054QZNRA

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/timeless-trilogy-book-one-tallulah-grace/1104729281

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/timeless-trilogy-book-one/id454533167?mt=11

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/66643

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Timeless-Trilogy-Book-One-Fate/book-AGyrHX17p0yENAS0mnawxg/page1.html

*****

Consider reading the Entire Trilogy

Cover_Timeless compilation

Purchase on Amazon:  Timeless Trilogy, Books One, Two & Three

*****

Giveaway

Tallulah will be awarding winner’s choice of a backlist eBook to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop. The more you comment, the greater your chances are of winning. Tour stops can be found by clicking on the following link: 

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/03/virtual-super-book-blast-fate-timeless.html

To leave a comment you can click on the green link “Leave a Comment” located after the tags at the bottom of this post.

Book Promotion & Giveaway for Damaged by H.M. Ward

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Purchase on Amazon: Damaged (eBook) /Damaged (Volume 1) (book)

Purchase on Barnes & Noble: Damaged

Title: DAMAGED

Author: H.M. WARD

Publisher: Laree Bailey Press

Release Date: April 6, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult

Event Organized by: AToMR Tours

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17231976-damaged

Book Description

A new adult romance novel by New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author H.M. Ward

Life sucks. And, as soon as Sidney picks up the pieces something always knocks her back onto her butt. It’s never pretty, but this time is different. This time pretty isn’t even the right word.

Peter is the personification of perfection. It’s like he fell off his angel perch in purgatory, because let’s face it–any guy that hot has got to be naughty. He was probably sent here to ruin her life.

Peter is beyond beautiful with his sexy blue eyes, dark hair, and toned body. Add in his charming wit and Peter is everything Sidney ever wanted in a man, but when things get hot and heavy Peter shows her the door. Sidney takes the walk of shame and leaves. It’s the end of the worst blind date ever. Her life couldn’t possibly reach higher levels of suckage, but it does.

The next morning everything comes crashing down. The insanely hot guy from last night, the one that saw her half naked, is teaching at the front of the class room.

Genre:  New Adult Romance Novel, approx. 325 pages

Excerpt from Damaged 

He watches me as I try to crank the engine. It doesn’t start. It doesn’t catch. I look at the little gauges and notice the battery.  He’s standing next to me now. “So, you’re a mechanic?”

I shake my head, “I just pretend to be. It makes for more interesting evenings.” I grin at him, not sure what’s come over me. I never talk random guys, but it’s not like he’s random anymore, right? Hot guy’s face falls and I realize that he believes me. “I’m just kidding. I know a little about cars. For instance, I know this one isn’t going anywhere tonight.”

“And why’s that?”

“Your alternator’s dead. Either that or you shoved a hamster up the tailpipe—” My face falls. I wonder if he did something stupid. Guys do all sorts of stupid things to talk to girls. I get out of his car and slam the door. Then, I tilt my head and cross my arms over my chest. “Tell me that that isn’t the reason the car won’t start.”

He laughs and presses his hand to his chest, shocked that I’d say such a thing. “No, I didn’t do anything like that! And correct me if I’m wrong, but you were the one who came onto me first. I didn’t get here early and sabotage my own car just so I could meet a girl, who I didn’t know was coming.” The way he smiles is contagious. He runs his hands through his dark hair, like he wishes he could say more, but he doesn’t. The corners of his mouth curve and he gives me a look that makes tingles slip over my skin.

I step toward him, smiling too wide. “I did not come onto you!”

“You did. Right back in there.” He points toward the restaurant. His face is serious, all smooth features and big blue eyes. “You sat at my table and made me very uncomfortable. I haven’t had such a beautiful woman overtly hit on my like that before. It was quite embarrassing.”

My smile is making it hard for my mouth to hang open in shock. It keeps opening and then my grin snaps my lips shut. “I did not!” I know he’s teasing me, but I can’t stop. I don’t want it to stop and I realize that I’m actually laughing.

His arms are folded over his chest. He taps a finger to his lip like he’s remembering. “You did. You ordered wine and just assumed that I’d put out. Really Sidney, you’ll have to learn to control yourself a little better from now on.” He looks at me out of the corner of his eye, as he glances at his car.

I know he’s baiting me, but I can’t ignore him. I can’t walk away and I don’t want to. He smiles at me with those wicked lips. It makes me want to kiss him, hard. I change tactics. I want to throw him so far off balance that he falls over. I step in front of him and look up at him from under my lashes. “Okay, you caught me. I like you. I want you. I can’t keep my hands off of you. But tell me this, beautiful man; why should I bother controlling myself when I can tell that you want me so much?” Slowly, I step closer to him. Our bodies are a breath apart as I look up into his eyes.

He’s smiling and manages to say, “You shouldn’t.” He watches me, waiting to see what I’ll do. I feel my heart pounding. His eyes drift to my lips and back to my eyes. Every inch of my body flickers to life. I want to feel his hands on me. I want his lips on my mouth. From that look in his eye, I know he wants it too.

I lean in closer, teasing him. I feel his breath on my lips. His scent fills my head and I breath him in. “Are you always this irresistible?”

“Are you always this coy? Do you just flirt, leaving your lips way too close to a man that desperately wants to kiss you?”

About the Author

NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY Bestselling author H.M. Ward is a native New Yorker living in Texas. Ward was featured in the Washington Post for her debut novel Demon Kissed. Romance series by H.M. Ward include Secrets, Scandalous, The Arrangement, and The Secret Life of Trystan Scott.

Author Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DemonKissed 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHMWard

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hmward

Blog: http://blog.demonkissed.com

Giveaway

One eBook copy of Damaged by H.M Ward

All electronic formats will be available via a Smashwords coupon code.

This Giveaway is open to U.S and International Participants

Contest ends May 1, 2013

The winner’s name will be submitted to the author after May 3rd

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*****

Additional Giveaway

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(1) Kindle Fire Prize Pak: Contains 1 Kindle Fire,

a Signed copy of DAMAGED, plus all of H.M. Ward’s romance ebooks: DAMAGED, New York Times & USA Today Bestseller SCANDALOUS, SCANDALOUS 2, THE ARRANGEMENT VOL 1 -5, SECRETS 1-5, THE SECRET LIFE OF TRYSTAN SCOTT 1-4, and CHRISTMAS KISSES. (Value $230)

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Review of Dark Days: The Long Road Home

Book Cover

Purchase from Amazon Dark Days: The Long Road Home

Dark Days: The Long Road Home by L M May

Book Description

How long would you survive?

Gemma thought she’d seen the last of Christopher Daley. She was wrong. When she ends up trapped in the city after an event that devastates society, Gemma has to trust the man who broke her heart as they set out on the long journey back home in a world that will never be the same again.

GEMMA: before her best friend died, Gemma made her a promise. Leaving four-year-old CJ with his grandmother, she catches the train to a law firm in the city to fulfill it.

CHRISTOPHER: scarred by a disastrous marriage, and the secret weighing him down, Christopher steers clear of women looking for a commitment. Then Gemma turns up at his office, and drops a bombshell that will have him questioning everything he believed.They have no idea what is about to happen …THE PULSE: while Gemma is still in Christopher’s office, the country is devastated by an event that wipes out electricity, communication, and most forms of transport. By the end of the night, the city is in chaos.THE JOURNEY: Over three hundred miles from home, Gemma’s only concern is getting back to young CJ, and his grandmother.
Christopher is worried about his own family, and there was no way in good conscience he could let Gemma travel so far alone in a world that had suddenly changed.
Together they set out for home, terrified of what the future holds.A story of love, survival, desperation, compassion, and loss: a story of never-ending hopePlease note: This book is part of an intended series, but it is a stand-alone novel (no cliffhanger).

Book Review

“An electromagnetic pulse, also known as an EMP will bring about the end of the world as we know it. EMPs can be caused by solar storms or by nuclear weapons detonated high in the atmosphere. When it happens the power grids will fail. There will be no electricity, water, heating, gas or sanitation. The EMP will burn out computer circuits. Airplanes, cars, computers, phones, pacemakers and anything with computer chips will stop working. In the first few minutes in America, between 250,000 and 500,000 people will be dead.”   –                         –Dark Days

Wow! Could this really happen?  Am I prepared? What would I do?  L M May will have you asking yourself these questions as you read Dark Days, a post-apocalyptic story combining romance and suspense in the aftermath of an EMP attack.

EMP sign

The story centers on Gemma and Christopher who struggle to survive a week-long journey to reunite with their families.  A promise to her recently deceased best friend, Caroline, has forced Gemma Rockwell to travel 300 miles from her hometown to see her old love, Christopher Daley. She is going to inform him that he has a four-year-old son that he unknowingly conceived with Caroline. Learning the true identity of CJs father after Caroline’s death has left  Gemma feeling shocked and betrayed, but she is determined to fulfill her promise.

Christopher Daley, now an attorney in a larger city, has never forgotten Gemma and the love they once shared in high school.  Although it’s been years since they’ve seen each other, he realizes he’s never completely gotten over her when she unexpectedly arrives at his office to meet with him.

As the point of view switches smoothly back and forth between Gemma and Christopher, readers are able to understand that there are still unresolved feelings between them that begin to resurface during the discussion over CJ.  Believing that he is sterile, but refusing to admit it to Gemma, Christopher denies that he is CJs father.  Before this conflict is resolved, however, the attack occurs without any forewarning. Everything…just…stops.

pulse hitting citydark city

What is EMP

To Get a Better understanding of the magnitude of an EMP attack, watch this YouTube video:

Once everyone in Christopher’s office begins to understand that what has happened is more than a mere black-out, they make plans for escape to the safety of their homes. Christopher  and Gemma are determined to work together to make the longer journey back to their hometown. They rely on bicycles, a trailer full of supplies, and the goodness of others as they embark on their quest.
bicycles
The heart of the story focuses readers on the physical and emotional obstacles that Christopher and Gemma must overcome if they are to succeed.  Along the way, they encounter others who are dazed, confused, and uncertain about what to do. Many are just patiently waiting for the government to step in and provide assistance. What they have yet to understand is that no one is coming to help them.

“What about the government?…They’ll help.”

 “It’s every man for himself now. Survival of the fittest. It won’t be long before people will be killing each other for a can of food or a bottle of water.” 

your own your own

I can empathize with those characters that are clueless about how to proceed. We are so used to living in a world where modern conveniences, governmental assistance, and laws provide the illusion that we will be safe and cared for in times of trouble. The reality of this attack provides us with a wake-up call to realize that we are inexplicably bound together, and in order to survive, we have to cooperate and collaborate with one another for the common good. Yet, as Christopher and Gemma’s challenges illustrate, we must also be knowledgeable and skilled in surviving on our own if necessary.
tumblr_mfsvdfs4Cf1rh2rvzo1_500_large go back to when things were simple

As Gemma and Christopher exit a chaotic metropolitan area and head toward suburbs and smaller towns, readers begin to see more organized efforts to help each other by banding together to share their resources and provide some semblance of law and order to keep each other safe.  It is heartening to see that people will turn to each other for support.

Gemma and Christopher are pushed to their physical limits as they travel the harsh terrain and battle the weather. Along the way, they encounter dangerous individuals determined to take advantage of others through violence.  I had expected more antagonistic situations with others than actually occurred in the story, but I also took into consideration that the attack is so recent, the majority of people are still trying to process their new reality. The conflicts that do occur throughout the story provide suspense and motivation to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen next.

Besides the physical barriers, the author makes us consider the emotional challenges as well in a fallen society. Christopher and Gemma are conflicted as they realize that they cannot stop to help everyone they encounter. Is hardening ourselves to the plight of others moving us a step away from our humanity?

On a more personal level, the EMP attack is the catalyst for rekindling Christopher and Gemma’s  relationship. At first they are awkward and tense with each other, but as they spend more time together, they find the long-lost comfort that they once had. Their desire and longing for each other emerge stronger than ever, even though they both try to fight these feelings.

tumblr_mlmajddcWi1r6rk4uo1_500 forehead

Through each character’s point of view, readers are given sprinkles of clues about the mystery behind what ended their relationship. I was able to piece together that they were once in love and planned to spend their lives together until something traumatic happened that wedged them apart. Revealing bits and pieces of their past over the course of the story was effective in keeping my interest. However, I was disappointed that, by the end of the book, their full history was never revealed.

questionsconept

I expected the author to unify the plot by tying together all aspects of the story.

What I most enjoyed about the book  is the creative story angle, the unpredictability of the plot, and the suspense found throughout the story. Will Christopher and Gemma make it home unharmed?  Can they revive their romantic relationship?  Can Christopher accept CJ as his son? How will their lives change as a result of the EMP attack?

I do want to point out that after the story ends, the author kindly provides a sneak peek of the next book in the series. When I read the excerpt, I realized that Christopher and Gemma’s story will continue, and more pieces of their past are revealed, so their entire story, hopefully, will emerge as the series continues.

Although there are some minor grammatical errors, and I felt the story could have been more fully fleshed out, Dark Days is a worthwhile read because it will no doubt make readers consider the reality of such an attack occurring in the future.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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music blue black round 50

Songs to Complement Dark Days

The significance of this song is obvious:

R.E.M. “Its the End of the World”

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I found this song to encapsulate the depth of Christopher and Gemma’s relationship:

Hurt: “Assurance”


(Thanks to SoulMusik69 for this music recommendation)

Soundgarden: “Fell on Black Days” (This song just kept popping up in my mind as I read the book)

 

 

extra icon

L M May recommends watching this video on how an EMP works

*****

Related Links

Read Chaos from the Sky: Why The EMP Threat is Real

 

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Blog Tour & Giveaway for Emily’s Gift (Book Two in the Emily Stokes Series)

A Gift for Emily Review Tour Banner  Title: A Gift for Emily

 Author: J.P. Galuska

 Series: The Emily Stokes Series #2

 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Suspense

 Publisher: Self-pub.

 Format: Ebook, Paperback

                                                                                                     Length: 67,000 words

A Gift for Emily Final copy

Purchase from Amazon:   A Gift for Emily (The Emily Stokes Series) (Volume 2) (Print edition)

A Gift for Emily (The Emily Stokes Series) (Ebook)

Book Description (From Goodreads)

A Gift for Emily picks up right where A Kiss for Emily leaves off. Emily’s life appears to be back on track and she’s still in love with Sam. Then the anonymous gifts start showing up on her doorstep from a suitor who has made his presence known, but his identity a secret. After he reveals a twisted plan, her entire family finds themselves in danger. The stalker could be anyone. Emily doesn’t know who to trust. Not even her heart. 

Book Review

If you liked the first book in the series, A Kiss for Emily, you will love this second one.  Emily’s life becomes more complicated with multiple conflicts and mysteries that keep readers in suspense throughout the story.

Emily and Sam are still committed to each other in the beginning of the story. Emily’s family has accepted Sam as a part of their lives even though they believe it is in Sam’s best interest to keep quiet about his presence. Now that Emily’s parents approve of Sam, both spend a great deal of time together. Unlike with other couples, however, Sam’s situation limits their physical contact. The most frustrating part for Emily is that she and Sam must not kiss:

“You know we can’t kiss on the lips, Miss Emily. It’s far too risky. If our souls were to bind, I’d never forgive myself for taking you to Hell with me. “

Sam appears to be a good person, but, for some reason, the Grim Reaper is after him to take his soul to Hell. Sam doesn’t want to do anything to put Emily in jeopardy. Yet, they both question how far they can take the relationship if they can’t be intimate.  There is “ghost seduction,” but for Emily, it isn’t as satisfying as the closeness that can exist between two physical beings.

Grim Reaper

Sam constantly travels from place to place to avoid be caught by the Reaper. One option to save Sam from being hunted is for him to find a living body to inhabit. This is a desperate option that neither Sam nor Emily really wants to consider because of the moral dilemma it presents, but they won’t rule it out completely as a solution.

As Emily searches for answers about Sam’s predicament, her plans get sidetracked when she starts receiving gifts by her front door. At first, it seems she has a secret admirer until the gifts become disturbing and threatening. The secret admirer has become a dangerous stalker.

 heartbreak15

To help solve the mystery, the police become involved, and, in particular, one Deputy Sherriff David Kinsworthy, who is the first to investigate the case. It soon becomes obvious there is chemistry between David and Emily, but both know nothing can come of it. Emily professes to love Sam, and because she is only seventeen, David will not risk his career to become involved with her. As the mystery intensifies, though, circumstances continue to bring them together. Can they continue to deny this attraction?  Although Sam tries to remain calm, it isn’t easy for him to watch the two together and think that David has more to offer Emily. Although both promise to protect Emily, she does have her doubts about how much Sam can really do to help her.

Initially, readers may think they can immediately identity the stalker, but as the plot unravels, other characters’ actions and motives are called into question. Gradually, Emily begins to wonder about those she would normally trust.  The strength and maturity of her character emerge in the sequel as readers watch how she struggles to protect her family and to save Sam from his fate.

The story’s suspense builds up to a shocking, climatic cliffhanger that leaves the reader wondering about the unresolved outcome that may change lives forever.  By the end of the book, I literally had my mouth hanging open and found myself saying , “No, no, no! I need more!”

OMG

I am ready for the next book and hoping it will not be too long of a wait.

I received an ARC of this book on behalf of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

top of the mountain copy40

About J.P. Galuska

Mom's stuff 008

J P lives in Minnesota with her family, a crazy dog, and the world’s best cat.

The Emily Stokes Series Facebook | Author Facebook | Website | Twitter @JGaluska

 

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Review of A Kiss for Emily: (Book One of the Emily Stokes Series)

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon:  A Kiss for Emily

A Kiss for Emily (Book One of the Emily Stokes Series) by J.P Galuska

Book Description

Emily Stokes never thought that falling in love would put her smack-dab in the middle of chaos. Or have her questioning her own sanity. When strange occurrences turn into the unbelievable, this romance may be more than she bargained for.

Book Review

Emily Stokes wants to be kissed, but she’s finding out that it just isn’t easy to find that special someone.

puckering up for a kiss

Emily is a typical teenager in Topeka, Kansas, finishing her junior year of high school. The story begins with her devastation over learning that her parents have decided to move the family to a rural area outside of Topeka.  Emily thinks her life has been “ruined”! Not only will she have to change schools to complete her senior year, she will leave behind her close girlfriends and her major crush, Alex Hibbs:

 “…when I look at Alex…I secretly desire a romantic kiss. Not just any old kiss, but one that makes you weak in the knees and defines true love. The all-important, all-encompassing kiss: that’s what I dreamed of. That’s what I wanted.” 

Emily thinks the upcoming prom is the perfect place to get that dazzling kiss. The only problem is Alex hasn’t asked yet, and time is running out.  She refuses to be the one to ask; otherwise, the kiss won’t be meaningful. However, the school year ends with Emily and a broken heart, but she is  ready to make the move and have a fresh start. heartbreak

The story is primarily told from Emily’s point of view, and the author does an excellent job of depicting the thoughts and actions of a teenage girl. At the beginning of the book, she is portrayed as an overly dramatic, self-centered, and insensitive to others. One of the primary examples of this is her treatment of Alex, even though she doesn’t know the extent of his pain and suffering from the traumatic events created by his family. At times, readers are given brief glimpses of Alex’s desperate thoughts, and I found it so heartbreaking that Emily refuses to have any type of relationship with him.

Itsover

I have to remember though, Alex has hurt her too, and she believes, in order to protect her heart, she can no longer have contact with him now that she has moved away: “Alex had been my Prince Charming, a knight in shining armor. Now he was simply the moldy cherry on a melted hot fudge sundae.” As the story progresses, readers watch as Alex’s life slowly disintegrates and are left wondering if the relationship between Emily and him is really over.

Now that her family has settled into their new house, Emily does her best to be optimistic about the change and to look for adventure. And, boy does she find it. While hiking in the woods, she takes a tumble that leaves a knot on the back of her head. She gets up, shakes it off, and continues on, until she spots a quaint, farmhouse out in the middle of a huge, open field.

country farmhouse

While taking in the beauty of the scene, she meets Sam Easley, property owner, and  “the most handsome boy I’d ever seen in my life.”

girl in shockShe is drawn to his old-fashioned and charming “country-boy” demeanor, and finds herself spending more time with him.  Has Emily finally found an opportunity for romance?

Sam appears to be the ideal guy for Emily, and she is enamored with him. He is the perfect gentleman around her, refusing to make any inappropriate moves toward Emily, even though she longs to kiss him.  However, Emily is quite perceptive and quickly realizes that not all is as it seems when she is around Sam. He isn’t anything like other young men that she knows.  Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that readers discover that Sam is in an unusual predicament, and, therefore, reluctant to tell Emily the truth about himself. His secrets create further conflict by making Emily wonder if, indeed, that bump on the head was more serious than she thought. Could she be delusional? Even her parents become concerned when they learn her knowledge of Sam and her visits to his house are  incongruent with what they’ve discovered about the history of the  Easley family.

old shack

Before Sam can reveal the truth to Emily, she is whisked away by her parents to be seen by a doctor, since everyone, including herself, thinks she’s hallucinating.

girl thinks she crazy

When a psychiatrist, more concerned about his career than his patients, declares that Emily is schizophrenic,thisgirlscrazy  her parents do everything they can to intervene, refusing to accept that their daughter is mentally ill. While Emily is being treated, readers get the parents’ point-of-views, which provide greater insight into their family dynamics and show the depth of their unwavering love and support of their daughter.  The plot unfolds as Emily tries to avoid confinement to a mental institution, and accept Sam for who he is.

Mystery, suspense, romance, and paranormal elements all combine to make this an enticing story. I also like the creative angle and detailed descriptions used to explain the paranormal entities.

ghost swirling

The ultimate question is whether Emily can love Sam with all of the restrictions and rules that constrain his behavior and actions. Will Emily finally get that kiss from Sam? The book’s ending leaves the reader wanting to know what will happen next.

Rating

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About  J.P Galuska

Mom's stuff 008

J P lives in Minnesota with her family, a crazy dog, and the world’s best cat.

The Emily Stokes Series Facebook | Author Facebook | Website | Twitter: @JGaluska

 

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of Upcoming Release: Waiting on Forever (The Forever Series)

WOF8001-199x300 (2)

Purchase on Amazon:Waiting on Forever (The Forever Series)

View on Goodreads

Waiting on Forever 

This is the second book in The Forever Series by Ashley Wilcox that follows Planning On Forever and can be read as a stand-alone.

Release Date: April 29, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: Adult

Book Description:

College. Parties, sororities and getting drunk. Oh, yeah. And learning. This may be true for most college students, but not for Leah Bennett. College life for her includes studying, working, and excelling in school. When it comes to the social ladder, Leah is at the bottom. Popular girls, hot guys, and star athletes are of no importance to her, except for one. 

Matthew Jacobs.

Matt is the starting wide receiver at SUNY Cortland, the most wanted guy on campus and Leah’s best friend. Although Leah’s feelings toward Matt run deeper than just friendship, it is something she would never let be heard because the odds of someone like Matthew Jacobs going for someone like Leah Bennett are slim to none.

When Matt starts showing an interest in Leah that goes beyond friendship, she is dumbfounded and doesn’t believe it is possible-until one weekend that changes everything. 

Will Matt and Leah’s popularity status get in the way of having a chance at a real relationship?

Or does status mean nothing when it comes to true love?

Book Review

nerdygirlandthejock Is it possible for two seemingly opposites to have a relationship with each other?

This book took me back in time to my college years: arriving naive and innocent, learning about relationships, and experiencing a lot of “first times.”  It’s especially during those years, when we can easily find ourselves labeling a person just by initial impressions. However, this story makes the reader look beyond the surface and to see what’s beyond one’s physical appearance.

In the prologue, readers meet the two central characters. who are freshmen: Leah Bennett  a photography major

girlwithcamera

and Matthew Jacobs, a football scholarship recipient, majoring in physical education.

football player

Their first meeting occurs at an orientation, where both characters assess the other based on stereotypes. Their encounter is described from Matt’s point of view.  He takes one look at Leah and thinks, “Even though this girl is screaming nerd, she’s actually pretty cute.” However, Leah is wary of Matt, since he’s a “jock” and, unlike other girls, isn’t  impressed with him.

When Leah discovers Matt’s major, her snicker draws Matt’s attention:

“Is there a problem with my major, ” I ask Leah.

“Nope, not at all,” she responds, clearly lying.

“I’ve always wanted to be a gym teacher,” I state defensively.

“I’m sure you have,” she says with even more sarcasm.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“All you jocks major in the same thing, she says matter-of-factly.”

Leah’s sassy, bold comments spark Matt’s interest, and that’s how their relationship begins. They become friends through Facebook and French class. As Leah learns more about Matt, she questions her initial impression of him: “Normally I don’t converse with athletes, but after getting to know him better I noticed he wasn’t as arrogant and pig-headed as most football players are…”

Until the epilogue, the rest of the story is told from Leah’s point of view, helping readers understand this dynamic character, who is atypical of many young adults. She defines herself as “a social outcast,”  doesn’t go out to social events, or worry over dating. Yet, there is such depth to her personality that makes it easy for readers to connect with Leah.  Although she thinks she’s a “nerd” and figures everyone else does as well, it doesn’t stop her from being herself. She’s confident in who she is and refuses to be  intimidated by others:  “I may be nerdy and quiet, but I don’t let stupid people walk all over me.” Her wit, sarcasm, and snarky thoughts make her a downright likeable character.

Although Leah is attracted to him, she is too is quick to make assumptions about Matt’s character based on his status:

“I can’t let Matt know how he makes me feel inside. Matt and I can never be a couple and our relationship can never be more than friends. He’s a popular jock that goes for popular girls and he is totally out of my league.” 

However, Leah finds herself doing things as an excuse just to be around Matt. For example, she’s willing to entertain his friends, and she goes jogging around the track just so she can see Matt practicing with his team: “I’ve never seen the point in running and I’ve always wondered how people sought enjoyment from it, but if it gets me in viewing distance of Matt for a little while then running is what I’ll do.”

girl running on track

 Even if she won’t admit her feelings for Matt are anything more than friendship, her actions prove otherwise. 

Matt’s character defies being stereotyped, and he proves to Leah that there is a lot more to him than his looks and interest in football. His honesty and integrity are to be admired. Aware of Leah’s cautiousness, Matt gradually reveals his romantic feelings for her, changing the way she defines herself . girllearningtobesexy She gains the confidence to move beyond her “nerd” status.

The passion and love they find in each other is new for both of them and can only be described as  intense, yet tender and heart-warming.

intimacy---Istimewa_zps9f5cd57b

This is an even keeled romance without a lot of angst in the relationship, which I found refreshing. Although the plot is at times predictable, by no means is it a boring read. Conflict and drama are present as the plot unfolds, showing the reader realistic ups and downs of falling in love.

I found myself smiling, chuckling, and even crying throughout the book. I’m not a sappy type of person, but I sure did become one by the end of the book, rooting for that happily ever after.

 quote about love so much

Rating:

Good-Read-icon

AToMR Tours provided me with a copy of this book on behalf of the author in exchange for an honest review.

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*****

Watch the Book Trailer! (It’s Excellent in capturing the essence of this story)

About the Author

Some may consider me a jack of all trades, but I consider myself well-rounded.

I’ve waitressed, styled hair, answered phones and, most recently, worked full time as mom to my two beautiful boys.

There was this book…Everyone and their brother started talking about this book series entitled Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I didn’t really pay attention to the craze at first, since I wasn’t a big reader-okay, I didn’t read at all. But curiosity got the best of me, so I downloaded it to my kindle.

I was immediately hooked. I read the whole series in three days. Yes, three books in three days.

I kept finding all these great books that I HAD to read (just ask my credit card!).

Then I started hearing voices. Voices that turned into stories; stories that were begging to get out of my head.

I started writing them down on scraps of paper. Then I transferred them to my computer. Before I knew it, Planning on Forever was born.

The voices in my head are still talking, so I’m still writing.

Ashley Wilcox

Learn more about Ashley Wilcox

Ashley Wilcox Official Website

Facebook Page

Twitter

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Music to Complement the Book

Ingrid Michaelson: “The Way I Am” (Official Music Video)

Joe Cocker: “You Are So Beautiful”

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw: “Lets Make Love” 

Bryan Adams: “When You Love Someone”

 

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Tempting Desserts Mentioned in the book:

64strawberries

Here is an easy recipe: Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Paula Deen via the Food Network

smores

Quick and Easy Guide for Making S’mores: S’mores- How to Make S’mores

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additional books you might like

Read more of Ashley Wilcox’s work:

Planning on Forever (The Forever Series)

Planning on Forever

Purchase on Amazon: 

Planning on Forever (Volume 1)

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Book Promo: Night Stars and Mourning Doves –Free On Amazon (April 9-13)

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Title:  Night Stars and Mourning Doves (Dearly Beloved Series)

Author: Margo Hoornstra

Genre: Contemporary/Reunion Series

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Publication Date: February 22, 2013

FREE ON AMAZON: April 9-13, 2013

Grab now on Amazon: 

Night Stars and Mourning Doves (Dearly Beloved)

Book Description

Elyse Monroe may be her sister’s maid of honor, but that doesn’t mean she has to follow the bride’s example and fall in love. Battle-scarred and weary from previous relationships, she has no desire to take a chance on another–no matter how many hints her little sister drops about the best man.

Devastating life events have taken a toll on Eric Matthews. After losing his wife and unborn daughter, he’s come home to heal. Serving as best man at his kid brother’s wedding is the only relationship he cares to contemplate–no matter how attractive the maid of honor.

Thrown together again and again by wedding duties, Elyse and Eric reluctantly agree to explore a possible relationship–only to have their casual date turn into a glorious night of passion. Can two hearts, convinced a happily ever after will never happen, recognize love when it finds them?

Excerpt from Night Stars and Mourning Doves

“Remodeling your home to accommodate Jay and me. Isn’t that a little extreme?”

Lips pursed, he shook his head. “Your mother and I have talked about adding on for years. Anyway, whatever we put into this house should increase its value eventually.” Setting aside the paper once and for all, his expression mellowed as he regarded his son. “Helping you out is helping us out.”

“It’s nice to hear you say that. And I want you to know I do appreciate what you’re doing for us. Especially Jay.”

“Losing your mother at any age is tough,” he replied as he stood. “It’s gotta be especially devastating when you’re as young as my grandson. He still needs someone to care for him like a mother, and Iris is more than up to the task.”

“She is that,” Eric began, then made himself quit talking.

Hard to admit, but he wanted someone to care for him, or at least listen when he needed them to. It wasn’t easy to look for a woman when you’re mortally injured and still require time to heal. Right now, it seemed all the time in the world would never make him whole again.

About the Author

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My personal history in a nutshell is pretty simple. I’m a wife to one: mother to four-seven if you count in-law children which I do-and grandmother to four so far.

My work experience includes public relations specialist, magazine editor, television producer, and script and speech writer. I’m also a founding member of Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America.

Official Website |  Blog |  Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Additional Books by Margo Hoornstra

To Be, Or Not (Class of 85)

Next Tuesday at Two (Class of 85)

Glad Tidings (Class of ’85)

Honorable Intentions

All on Her Own

More Than a Memory

Forgotten Alliance

Grandma’s Friends

Happily Ever After

Oh, So Right

When the World is Right

Blog Tour/Excerpt/ Giveaway: MATCHPLAY by Dakota Madison

Book Cover

Title:  MATCHPLAY

Author: Dakota Madison

Publisher: Short on Time Books

Released: March 17, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult

Event organized by: AToMR Tours

Book Links:

Goodreads-  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17661699-matchplay

Amazon – Matchplay

Book Description

A Girl, a Guy, a Tournament and a Challenge

The Girl: At a time when most girls obsess about homecoming and high school prom, Rainy Dey spent her senior year caring for her dying mother. So when her father drops her off at college to start her freshman year, his words of advice to his bookish daughter are to start acting like a young person and finally have some fun.

 The Guy: College senior, Aaron Donavan, aka Mr. Hot-and-Knows-It, is President of the Clubhouse, a social club for the college’s most wealthy and popular guys. Aaron can have any girl on campus except the one who challenges and excites him the most—Rainy Dey.

The Tournament: Every year, the senior members of The Clubhouse engage in a golf-inspired tournament to see who can sleep with the most freshman girls. When Rainy finds out about the tournament, she believes Aaron’s only interest in her is to score points by taking her V-Card.

 The Challenge: Can Aaron convince Rainy that his feelings for her are true and that she won’t be just another notch on his tournament scorecard?

 

Excerpt from MATCHPLAY

I ran my hand along the collection of books until I landed on the Introduction to Art History. There were only a few copies on the shelf. As I went to grab one of the copies, another hand reached for it at the exact same moment. I had been so caught up examining the books, I hadn’t even noticed another person had walked up right beside me.

I turned to see Aaron staring down at me. He seemed to have gotten hotter looking, if that was even possible. He had on a tight white polo shirt that accentuated his muscular chest and his jeans fit snugly in all the right places. What drew me in, though, where those incredible eyes, dark brown and dreamy. And the guy had magnetism. The only problem was that he knew it and knew how to use it. 

“So we meet again.” He flashed me an incredibly sexy grin. My heart skipped a few beats. Ugh. How could I be falling right into his trap? There was no way I was going to be one of the many girls on his score card. 

We were still both holding the same text book and staring into each other’s eyes. Neither one of us retreated on either front.

“Why are you taking Art History?” I blurted. Seniors rarely took Intro courses.

He furrowed his brows. “Why not?”

“You like art?”

“Not particularly.”

That wasn’t the answer I was expecting. It made his enrollment in the class even more of a mystery.

“I don’t really get art,” he continued.

“Art is one of the few things I do get.”

He shrugged. “My advisor told me that I wasn’t going to graduate unless I took two arts classes. I had a choice between art and theater. This seemed like the lesser of the two evils.”

He finally let go of the book and I took it into my arms and held it like a treasured child against my chest. He grabbed another copy from the shelf and flipped it around. It physically pained me to see him treating the book with so little care.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“That book’s expensive,” I said as he continued to flip it around like a soccer ball.

He looked down at my book and the way I was holding it. He placed his book against his chest and mimicked the way I was holding mine. “Is that better,” he mused.

I turned to walk away from him and he grabbed my elbow, “Hey, wait, Sunshine…”

I flew back around, enraged. “I never gave you permission to touch me,” I spewed. 

He dropped my arm as if touching me now burned his hand. He looked shocked. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.

“Why did you call me that?” I was still fuming.

“Call you what?”

“Sunshine?” I wondered if he had seen my nametag the other day when we had met and was making fun of me.

“It’s a term of endearment,” he said.

“It’s not funny.” 

When I looked into his eyes, he seemed genuinely confused. Maybe he hadn’t seen my nametag after all.

I could see a hint of sadness cross his face but then just as quickly it was gone. “For once, I wasn’t trying to be funny. There’s just something about you that radiates such passion and joy. Apparently except when I’m around. You just reminded me of sunshine and the nickname seemed appropriate. I didn’t mean to offend you.” 

When I searched his face, he seemed to be genuinely remorseful. I felt a twinge of guilt for getting so upset with him.

“My name is Rainy,” I said. “Rainy Dey.” I spelled my last name for him like I usually did when I met someone new.

He blinked a few times as if he was trying to register what I had just said. Then the corners of his mouth turned up into a small grin. “And I called you Sunshine.”

I nodded.

“You’d never know I had any moves at all.” 

“Well, you can keep your moves to yourself or save them for some other girl because your chances with me are zero,” I responded frankly.

“Zero?” He placed his hand over his heart in mock pain. “You’re killing me.”

“I’m not here to date. I’m here to get an education. Besides, girls like me don’t date guys like you.”

“That’s a lot of negativity to absorb all at once.”

“There’s nothing negative about it. It’s just the truth.”

He gave me an intense stare that seemed to instantly melt whatever coldness I had toward him. His beautiful brown eyes were almost too much to bear.  Then he bit his lower lip and continued staring at me. I felt like I was being put under a spell. He took my breath away.

“We’ll see about that,” he whispered then he winked at me—again. What was it with all the winking? Whatever it was, it worked, though, because I thought my knees would give out. Then he turned and walked away.  

About the Author

Dakota Madison has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Author Social Media Link

12 Novels in 12 Months

Giveaway: April 7-April 12

One eBook copy of MATCHPLAY in either mobi or PDF format

This Giveaway is open to U.S and International Participants

The Winner’s contact information will be sent to the author by April 15th.  A copy of the book will be delivered after April 22nd

Click on the link below to enter

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Cover Reveal for Off Limits by Sawyer Bennett

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Title: Off Limits

Author: Sawyer Bennett

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult

Cover Designer: Vitalink:  http://www.vitalinkweb.com/

Expected Release Date: April 16, 2013

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17607787-off-limits

Book Description

“There is a vulnerability there, hovering just below the surface. And I want to pick at it until I expose it. Then I want to kiss it.”

Two years ago, Emily Burnham, had an epiphany about the shallowness of her life.  And she made it her mission to become a different person…a better woman.  Out from under the controlling thumb of her mother, Emily is tasting the real world for the first time.  And she likes it.

Nixon Caldwell has served his time in the Marine Corps, surviving two brutal tours in Afghanistan. He is back home, surrounded by what he likes best…isolation.  It’s certainly the easiest way to avoid confrontation of the consuming guilt that is weighing him down.

When an accident brings Emily and Nix together, he soon learns he is not the master of his own fate. Struggling with his own pain, Nix tries to guard himself against Emily’s charms.  He wants her in his bed, but he doesn’t want her in his heart.

Having grabbed life by the horns, Emily wants it all.  But is she willing to accept just the small part of himself that Nix is offering?  Can she reach the part of his soul that he has deemed to be Off Limits?

About the Author

Sawyer Bennett Small

Sawyer Bennett is the pen name for a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Author Social Media Links

http://www.sawyerbennett.com

http://www.facebook.com/bennettbooks

http://www.twitter.com/bennettbooks

http://www.goodreads.com/Sawyer_Bennett

AToMR Tours