Book Tour for Blue Lines (Nashville Assassins #4) by Toni Aleo: Review & Giveaway

Blue Lines Tony Aleo

Blue Lines (Nashville Assassins #4) by Toni Aleo

Cover (13)Opposites do more than just attract in Toni Aleo’s latest Nashville Assassins novel about a very bad boy and the good girl he can’t resist.

The instant Piper Allen sees Erik Titov, she wants him—wants his rock-hard body, sure, but the strength and mystery that lies behind that superstar hockey jock demeanor, too. So when he sidles up to her at a bar and slinks his arm around her waist, she’s lost. What follows is the wildest night of her life . . . followed by inevitable heartbreak the next morning. And then, a few weeks later, a very big surprise: two blue lines on a pregnancy test.

Only a check to the head could make Erik fall for a nice girl like Piper. But since their crazy-sexy night together, he’s been trying to forget about her alluring body by falling into bed with every woman in Nashville, and it’s not working. So when Piper shows up at his house with a baby-bomb to drop, it doesn’t take much for Erik to suggest the nuclear option: marriage. While it’s supposed to be all for show, the second they say “I do,” the ice between them starts to melt into sizzling steam.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Taking Shots, Trying to Score, and Empty Net.

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Blog Tour for A Little Too Far (A Little Too Far #1): Review & Giveaway

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A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

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William Morrow

Releasing Sept 17th, 2013

Book Description halfsize

Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for better part of the last few years…and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome. But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to Confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt…and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy on the eyes deacon…only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way. 

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When Tasty Tours sent out the notice about the upcoming book tour for A Little Too Far, I looked over the book’s description and decided no, I don’t think I’ll read this book. Lexie is probably not a character I’d really like or connect with. She probably likes the allure and danger of pursuing men who are off limits. Perhaps, if I want to be really honest with myself, I thought she’s probably going to be a selfish young woman, only thinking about what she wants and not considering the pain she has the potential to cause others who will be affected by her choices.

I admit I couldn’t help but think…temptress…whose alluring charm will eventually wear down the defenses of two men struggling to do what’s right, who know they shouldn’t want what’s forbidden to them, and who fall helplessly under the power she has to bring them to their knees if and when they find they aren’t strong enough to give into their carnal desires.

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So for me, it was no thank you, I don’t want to sit back and watch the devastation that’s bound to happen after a lust-driven tornado tears through the landscape of two men who are just starting out on their journey in life, following a path that seems to be clearly laid out for them.

However, then it seemed that everywhere I looked, I kept seeing some type of promo for this book, and I found myself unable to resist the hype. So I changed my mind and decided to take the plunge, read the book, and let the chips fall where they may.

I’m so, so glad I gave this book a second chance because it proved to be such an enjoyable reading experience. Lexie blew up all my assumptions, and the depth of her character,  as well as the inner turmoil she feels helped me see how real she is; she a good young woman who struggles with the guilt over her actions and feelings toward two men who play pivotal roles in her life.

When the story opens, Lexie has just experienced her first major heartbreak. Her boyfriend of three years has betrayed her, and even though she’s scared to let go of him, deep down she knows it’s the best thing she can do for herself. At the age of twenty, Lexie is just beginning to spread her wings and fly, both literally and metaphorically. The only problem with that is she’s afraid of heights, so flying isn’t her strong suit.  She’s leaving to spend her junior year in Rome, studying Art History.  For the first time in her life, she’ll be away from her family and friends. She’s taking a huge step toward life as an adult.  I thought Lexie’s fear of heights and flying were symbolic of the inner conflicts she must face and overcome  if she is to  to experience emotional growth.

Right before she leaves, though, she turns to her step-brother, Trent, after she has a painful run-in with her ex-boyfriend, who offers comfort and support.  Just as the book’s blurb indicates, she and Trent end up having “rock my world” sex that changes the dynamics of the typical “brother/sister” relationship they’ve tried to have over the past five plus years when they began spending time together while their parents dated and eventually brought them all together under one roof once they married. Needless to say, things get awkward around the house after that.

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The entire story is narrated from Lexie’s POV and in the present tense, which pulled me in. Her tone is casual, conversational, I felt like her confidant, the one who listened as she grappled with her range of emotions and feelings: desire, guilt, self-loathing, loneliness, fear.

The author does an excellent job of describing how close Lexie and Trent have always been. They are best friends, know each other’s deepest secrets, insecurities, and have supported each other emotionally through all the ups and downs of their teenage years.  So, it isn’t that Lexie goes home after seeing Rick, the man with whom she thought she’d found true love, and decides to jump her sexy hot brother to soothe her pain. Their relationship is complex and they’ve been pushed into the roles of brother and sister by their parent’s marriage. They’ve tried their best to fulfill their roles as siblings, but it’s clear from their history that the emotional bond they’ve forged is precious and rare, and the heart wants want it wants, no matter what they try to tell themselves. Unfortunately real life smacks them in the face, and they struggle to forget the incident happened and try to go back to the way things were. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and realistically impossible.

I think it’s great that Lexie leaves for Rome soon the incident with Trent. Being in Rome gives her a chance to deal with the shame and guilt she experiences and offers the chance for her to begin to find herself.

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She hopes that time and distance can help heal the fissure that has now emerged in her relationship with Trent. Rome allows her to focus on establishing her own identity, and one thing I like about Lexie is her passion for life. She channels her conflicting feelings into her love of art, and it’s the Reverend Alessandro who helps her begin to find her way.

Over time, she and Alessandro become close, and, just like Trent, he accepts her as she is and doesn’t judge or condemn her when she decides to share her feelings of shame, doubt, and fear with him. Alessandro, too, has had his share of demons to contend with, and their friendship grows after he shares his non-too-perfect past with her.  Alessandro is very attractive, and Lexie is drawn to him, but is certain she has nothing to worry about since Alessandro is very close to being ordained as a priest.  Again, though, the heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes, consequences be damned.

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Lexie has some tough choices to make and she’s cognizant that those choices will have a significant and long-lasting impact on her future and the existing world of those she loves. Lexie’s a likeable young woman; no, she isn’t perfect and just like all of us, she wrestles with trying to do what is right on her way to finding happiness.  She’s authentic, full of vitality, and she perseveres through the emotional pain she experiences over the course of the story.  She has a spark, a vitality for life that draws others to her, including me. I was pleasantly surprised with the laugh-out-loud moments interspersed throughout the book that provide a bit of relief and offer a reprieve from the constant angst and conflict in Lexie’s life.

Lexie’s brassy style and voice along with a well executed plot made for a wonderful reading experience.  Forgive me for misjudging you, Lexie. I think fans of NA romance will really enjoy book.

Source: I received an ARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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http://www.lisadwrites.com/little-too-far.php

About the Author 50 percent

LisaLisa Desrochers lives in northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. If you’d told her five years ago she’d write a book, she’d have laughed in your face. As it turns out, she’d owe you an apology. Writing has become an addiction for Lisa and A Little Too Far, courtesy of HarperCollins, is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of the young adult Personal Demons trilogy from Macmillan. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise. Connect with her online at www.lisadwrites.com, on her blog at lisadesrochers.blogspot.com, on Twitter at @LisaDez, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LisaDesrochersAuthor

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Music to Complement the Book

Thank you, Lisa, for introducing me to Jason Wade and Lifehouse

“You Belong to Me”

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Cover Reveal for Slick as Ides

Slick As Ides

Slick as Ides by Chanse Lowell

Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: September, 2013

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18301798-slick-as-ides

Book Description

What happens when a germophobe, elusive computer hacking genius has to stop to fuel up her car and it’s stolen right from under her nose by a handsome vagrant? Revenge of course. 
 
Only he’s no vagrant… 
 
He’s a computer hacking genius, too, and her competition. Curses along with inhibitions—fly out the window and through the phone when he calls repeatedly to harasses her. Who will win the upper-hand, if there is such a thing, between these two stubborn, obnoxious people?
*****

About the Author

Chanse grew up in the desert southwest and still lives there with her husband, children, and pet cactus. She’s addicted to three things: reading erotica, writing erotica and sandwiches with a side of erotica to aid with digestion. She grew up watching programs with science fiction and historical fiction themes, and is determined she can combine her three favorite genres, creating a new breed of novel with scifi, historical and smut sandwiched in the middle.The last thing she ever thought she’d do was pursue her dream to be a writer since her family tends to keep her busy. When she was introduced to fan fiction, she realized she wanted to see more science fiction and historical fiction to fill in the gap with lots of naughtiness thrown in, of course. Her true passion is creating her own worlds from scratch, letting her imagination go and take her to another place.She has two novels coming out soon, Sleeves a science fiction erotica and Knots, a contemporary BDSM that shows the softer, tender side of a Dom/sub relationship. Having recently entered the lifestyle and discovering she’s a submissive herself has opened her eyes to how few stories there are exploring the softer side of the lifestyle. She enjoys chatting online with others with similar kinky interests and has advisers in the lifestyle that help make sure her stories remain true and don’t veer off into outer space. Although aliens probably enjoy kink, too, since they like to dress in rubber fetish-wear while traveling. At least that’s her argument for why her new genre she’s created is valid.

Website: http://chanselowell.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/chanse.lowell.1

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/ChanseLowellWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChanseLowell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ChanseLowell

 

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Teaching Roman

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Book Description

Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective.  So when she receives a call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to Mexico for some fun in the sun.

Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn’t plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she’s been crushing on for a year.  When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.

Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallerta, especially not a former student. Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However, the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.

But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.

About the Author

I’d rather be walking on the beach than watching TV. I’m a hopeless romantic, a fan of kissing scenes, and I’m always hunting for my next book boyfriend. I write YA books by day and books about falling in love by night. That might make me a super hero.
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Book Blitz & Author Interview for Now or Never

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Now or Never by A.J. Bennett

Now or Never

Publication date: June 19th 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary

Book Description

Twenty-one year old Grayson Alexander finally breaks away from an abusive relationship and finds herself free for the first time in three years.

Determined to enjoy her new-found freedom, Grayson is intent on sticking with ‘no strings attached’ relationships—one-night stands, and steamy sex.

But she didn’t plan on Derrick.

Her attraction to the sexy man in uniform quickly turns into an unhealthy relationship. They both try to resist the pull, but neither can stay away.

When tragedy strikes, Grayson realizes it’s now or never—walk away or make it work.

Read an Excerpt

Grayson’s stomach flipped when the dark-haired man pulled up a stool beside her. She had no idea what her sister had said to the blond, who in turn had brought this sexy stranger to her side. Thankfully, the bar was dimly lit so he couldn’t see how red her face was.

He leaned towards her resting his forearms on the table holding her gaze steadily. “What’s your name?”

Grayson froze, she didn’t want to give her real name. She looked around for inspiration, and then glanced down at the amber and carnelian bracelet around her wrist. “Amber.”

“Amber.” He rolled the word around as if he was tasting it. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Todd.”

Grayson raised the glass to her lips finishing her drink, and then pushed it to the side to pick up the next. She wasn’t sure why she’d lied about her name, but it was too late now anyway. Maybe if she pretended like she was someone else, she could actually go through with the madness?

Interview with A.J. Bennett

Now or Never is your debut novel how long did it take to write?

I worked on Now or Never for several months. It was a slow process. I’ve been intrigued by the New Adult genre. I love that sex is not taboo in the genre. And the age bracket is  great. The college years are about finding yourself and experiencing life without the boundaries of your parents.

What are you currently working on?

I’m almost finished with my second novel. It’s going to be called Unintentional Virgin. It’s been fun to write and can’t wait to release it. After that I’m going to start on a book about Luna the twin sister in Now or Never. Because I’ve had so many request to find out what happens with Grayson and Derrick. I thought that would be a good way to see where they are and also learn more about the free spirt Luna.

Do you have a favorite writing snack?

Popcorn. I LOVE popcorn.

Where do you prefer to write?

I really enjoy writing in cafes. There is something relaxing about that environment. Not to mention it’s a great place to people watch.

Some authors still hand write and then type on the computer. What about you?

Goodness no. My handwriting is terrible and I probably wouldn’t be able to tell half of what I’d written. I’m all about the laptop. I love to move around while I’m writing.

How would you describe your two main characters?

Grayson is a bit lost and confused. She recently got out of a horrible relationship and has never experienced any other men so she goes a little overboard. And she does it for the wrong reasons. She is really drawn to Derrick but not ready to believe he could possible be the one for her.

Derrick is hard to figure out. He had been hurt in the past. The only woman he ever loved cheated on him with a friend  of his. So for the last few years he’s been unwilling and uninterested in settling down. When he meets Grayson he knows he’s going to fall so he keeps her at a distance.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to read, go hiking and hang out with my husband.

 Do you have any advice for new writers?

Write everyday was the best piece of advice I’ve received. Even if you don’t feel like it. It’s good to get your brain in the routine.

About the Author

A.J. Bennett lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and bulldog. She’s addicted to coffee, popcorn and books. Becoming an author has been a lifelong dream, and she’s extremely excited about her debut novel Now or Never.
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Book Spotlight: Hidden (Hiding From Love #1)

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Hidden (Hiding From Love #1) by Selena Laurence

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Genre: New Adult Romance

Release Date: July 23, 2013

Book Description

Nick Carlisle comes to Hawaii to hide—from what happened during his military service in Afghanistan, from relationships, from his future. Lyndsey Anderson came to Hawaii to hide too—from the man who abused her, from the sacrifices she made, from her dark past. But when Nick meets Lyndsey, Hawaii gets a whole lot hotter, and they find they can’t hide their hearts. As Nick fights to come to terms with what he’s done, Lyndsey struggles to forgive herself for the choices she’s made. But when the dangerous past threatens the beautiful present, can they survive to learn how to love? And who will finally reveal what’s hidden?

*****

About the Author

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I love to write romantic stuff that helps you get away. Life can be a grind, and things like jobs and school and dirty dishes make Jill a dull girl – and me too! So, I write Contemporary and New Adult romances about hot guys and smart girls and cool places. It’s an Escape from the Everyday.

Author Links

Facebook Author Profile Link:  http://www.facebook.com/SelenaLaurenceRomanceAuthor
Facebook Page Link (If Available):  http://www.facebook.com/SelenaLaurence
Goodreads Profile Link:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6995625.Selena_Laurence
Website Link: http://www.selenalaurence.com      

*****

Click on the book cover to purchase on Amazon:

       

*****

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Review of Taking Shots (Assassins #1) by Toni Aleo

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Purchase on Amazon:  Taking Shots: The Assassins Series (Ebook) /Taking Shots: The Assassins Series  (book)

Ebook is .99 on Amazon for a limited time!

Taking Shots (Assassins #1) by Toni Aleo

Book Description

Elli Fisher has never thought she was good enough, let it be her job, her weight, her love life, nothing. That is until she meets Shea Adler. After doing a promotional shoot for the NHL team, the Assassins, she meets the hunky hockey player who shoots a puck, shattering her world.

Shea Adler was tired of the life he was living outside of the rink. The girls, the money blowing, the drinking, everything had to stop and it all did when he met Eleanor Fisher. He had never met anyone like her. She was feisty, witty, shy, and simply gorgeous. When he laid eyes on her, it was as if he was taking the hardest hit of his life into the boards, and he had to have her. Elli is a little skeptical of Shea, but he knows that they were meant to be together, and he needed her in his life.

Can Elli throw her insecurities out the window and love Shea with everything inside of her, or will she let a past relationship, and her family ruin any chance of her being happy.

*****

Book Review

Taking Shots is the first book in Toni Aleo’s Assassins series, where each book focuses on a hunky hockey player for the Nashville Assassins and the woman he comes to love.  If you like a romance book that slowly depicts a couple’s developing relationship, as they each battle their insecurities, then you will enjoy this book, even if hockey isn’t one of your favorite sports.

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Eleanor Fisher, called Ellie, is a professional photographer as well as a die-hard Assassins’ fan.  She attends every game, has awesome seats to watch the home games, and is most likely team captain Shea Adler’s most dedicated fan.  When she gets a chance to be the official photographer for the Assassins team, she jumps at the opportunity to be around the players of a sport she loves.  On her first day taking pictures of the team members, she finds herself blushing as she considers how gorgeous Shea is when she is photographing him.   When he flirts with her, she is too shocked to even reply.

In her eyes, someone like Shea Adler could never be interested in her.  First of all, Ellie has low self-esteem because of her family and a past relationship. Readers are given bits and pieces about her family and past but the full story isn’t revealed all at once; instead it is parceled out over the course of the story to keep the reader’s interest.

Secondly, Ellie has major issues with her body image that I found surprising and saddening.  When she was in her teens, she was a size two.  Later, she developed hypothyroidism and gained a lot of weight. Although she has lost some of the weight, she isn’t happy that she is now a size ten and, in her opinion, still overweight. So being a size 10 means you’re fat? I think not.
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There is nothing wrong with being a size 10, but I think, today, young women feel so much pressure to be “stick thin.”  Unfortunately, Ellie places too much importance on a person’s physical attributes in the beginning of the story, but, her attitude does change as her character begins to grow.

Shea is a wonderfully, caring, honest man who doesn’t understand why Ellie sees herself in such a negative way. Whenever he can, he always compliments her and works to boost her self-esteem.  He also doesn’t understand her cautiousness about taking their relationship beyond just kisses and dates.  During a heavy make out session, Ellie pulls back, terrified to allow Shea to see her body, thinking he will be disgusted by the sight. This hesitation about letting Shea close to her occurs repeatedly, and her inability to accept the fact he thinks she’s beautiful eventually began to annoy me.

However, Shea is patient with her.  Because of the connection he has with Ellie, he is willing to take things slowly.  They spend a lot of time conversing, where Shea openly share details and stories about his life and his family. Unfortunately, Ellie doesn’t share anything about her family and tries to avoid discussing her past.  When her parents learn that Ellie is seeing Shea Adler, they are persistent in having the couple over for dinner.  Ellie does not like being around her family and doesn’t want to expose Shea to them either.  Over dinner it becomes clearer to Shea one of the reasons for Ellie’s insecurities. Everyone in her family, with the exception of her father, seems to derive pleasure in criticizing Ellie, especially her mother.

What makes the entire experience even more disastrous is that almost everything Ellie has avoided sharing with Shea is revealed by family members. Not only is Ellie embarrassed and horrified, but Shea is absolutely shocked by what he learns about Ellie’s past, and he realizes how much about herself she has kept hidden.
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By the end of the dinner, he is angry and frustrated with Ellie, as I think anyone would by this point. However, what confuses me is why Ellie agreed to bring Shea to dinner, knowing this could happen.

These revelations, however, help Shea to gain insight about what has made Ellie so afraid of getting close to someone.  Furthermore, this scene was an integral part of the book because it enables Ellie to begin lowering the barriers she has erected to protect herself from getting hurt. Now that Shea knows more of the truth and still wants her in his life, Ellie decides it’s time to give herself fully to him.

As their relationship deepens, Shea finds he has fallen in love with Ellie. Even though he gathers the courage to tell her how much he loves her, he is disappointed that she doesn’t say it back.  What amazes me about Shea is his level of commitment to Ellie. He’s willing to wait for her to fall in love with him. I keep wondering what’s really holding her back. So a previous relationship didn’t work out? Why should that deter her from finding happiness with someone else?  Only when a drunken Ellie finally tells Shea the details about her last relationship can I finally understand her caution and fears. I wish I had learned this information earlier because it would have helped me to have more patience with Ellie.

Shea is one of the most heart-melting heroes I have encountered. The strength of his love for Ellie makes him a perfect match for her as she deals with those pesky inner demons that whisper to her she’s not worthy of Shea. It is his loving commitment to her that helps her grow and flourish.

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However, the progress to happily-ever-after is halted when a major incident occurs that shatters Ellie’s trust in Shea.  I became frustrated with Ellie again because she just runs away instead of listening to Shea’s explanation.  So the angst continues in the midst of heartbreak.  Other readers may think her reaction was justified, but I think by this point in the story, Ellie should have been bold enough confront the issue and deal with it after ascertaining all of the  facts. Instead she runs away and leaves the entire issue unresolved until the end of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I am certainly glad to have had the opportunity to read a story like this that really depicts the intricacies of making a relationship succeed.  On the other hand, at times, I felt the pacing was too slow, and the story was dragged out longer than it needed to be. I also found there to be entirely too much “giggling” over the course of the plot.  There is nothing wrong with the use of giggle, but I found this descriptor overused to the point that it became an annoyance for me.

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I think fans of contemporary and New Adult romances will find this to be an enjoyable read. I am certainly willing to give the next book in the series a try.

I received a copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

Learn More about the Assassin Series by watching this Series Trailer

*****

About the Author (From Goodreads Profile page)

My name is Toni Aleo!

I am a wife, mother, and hopeless romantic. I have been told I have anger issues, but I think it’s cause of my intense love for hockey! I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play! When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughters dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, and reading the latest romance novel. I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, and did I mention I love hockey? I am currently working on Empty Net, and I hope to have it out by November! I hope to hear from you on here, my Facebook, or my twitter! Thank you so much!

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Music to Complement the Book

These songs were referenced in Taking Shots (credit goes to Toni Aleo)

 

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Review of Tempting Cameron: A Lone Pine Lake Novel # 2

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Purchase on Amazon: Tempting Cameron (Lone Pine Lake)

 Tempting Cameron: A Lone Pine Lake Novel #2  by Karen Erickson

Book Description (Amazon)

The girl next door never looked so good…

For Cameron McKenzie, Chloe Dawson has always just been his younger sister Jane’s best friend—a pesky annoyance who followed him around and acted like he hung the moon. It isn’t until Jane’s wedding to her firefighter beau Chris that Chloe reappears in his life…and she isn’t pesky or annoying anymore. In fact, the beautiful Chloe tempts him beyond reason. But Cam knows he’s damaged goods—not nearly good enough for Lone Pine Lake’s resident good girl.

Chloe’s always dreamed of a future with the dark, brooding Cam, and after they share an explosive kiss, she wonders if her dream could be coming true. Cam’s never stuck around his hometown for long, though, so she makes him an offer: one sweet summer romance with no strings attached. This good girl’s ready for an adventure…one that just might end up lasting a lifetime.

Book Review

If you are looking for a “feel good” light romance, then this is a book you’ll enjoy. The story’s main conflict is whether Chloe Dawson can convince Cameron McKenzie to open his heart to her. Providing alternating point-of-views from Chloe and Cam gives readers an in depth look at the realities each face in life and their struggle to find love and acceptance from each other.

Cameron McKenzie left his hometown right after high school graduation, determined to escape the small town lifestyle that has always stifled him. His career as a freelance photographer has enabled him to travel all over the world, giving him an excuse not to have to return home.

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While working as a war photographer in Afghanistan, Cam is wounded and his sister Jane’s wedding provides an opportunity to return home to heal the emotional and physical scars that plague him. It also provides an opportunity for him to realize that his sister’s friend Chloe is no longer “…the skinny, flat-chested girl with braces and glasses.” 

Now, Chloe has blossomed into an attractive young woman, who in Cam’s mind is “…the epitome of the sweet beautiful girl who wanted it all.” That is reason enough for him to stay away from her. He isn’t the type for relationships, and he knows that, if he pursues Chloe, it will only end with her getting hurt.

It’s been years since Chloe has seen Cameron, but, when she sees him at his sister Jane’s wedding, she realizes  she still hasn’t outgrown the crush she’s had for Cam since she was twelve-years-old.

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Although she tries not to be obvious about her feelings for Cam, he is already aware of her attraction to him: “…he’d caught her more than once looking at him with an uninhibited, adoring gaze. As if she believed he could hang the moon and touch the stars.”  

Cam is an enigmatic, mesmerizing character, whose quiet, sullen nature keeps most at a distance. He has a reputation as someone who runs; when situations become difficult, he leaves. However, through his point of view, readers are able to look beyond his aloof exterior to see a man who has been both physically and emotionally wounded.

Chloe is such a wonderful character. She’s kind-hearted, open, and giving to others. Her personality, as well as her status as an elementary teacher, has made her a beloved member of the community. Although she is relatively content with her lifestyle, she can’t help but feel that she’s missing out. She tells Cam, “…I can’t help the way I feel. Like there’s something deep within me that longs to be free. I want to explore, have an adventure, do something shocking…”

Her revelation becomes the impetus for Cam to move beyond polite conversation and kiss Chloe:  
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“She tasted of sunshine and innocence. And beneath that, an aroused sexy woman…she was temptation personified.”  Yes, good girl Chloe becomes a temptation that he tries so very hard to resist.  Being around Cam brings out an uninhibited side of her that others never see. When she boldly suggests that they could have an intimate adventure together, he realizes that. although he would enjoy a fling with her, he would ultimately leave again letting her and his family  down.

The temptation to be with Chloe is so great that Cam forces himself to say hurtful, cruel things about Chloe’s crush on him to further discourage her.  His callous words have the intended effect, and an angry, tearful Chloe leaves feeling utterly humiliated.

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When Cam discovers that Chloe has had a car accident soon after she leaves him, he blames himself: “Guilt squeezed Cam’s heart in its ferociously tight fist. He’d made her cry with his rotten words that had been full of half truths. He was a complete jackass. And was most likely responsible for the accident.” 

Interestingly, when Chloe awakens in the hospital, she is unable to remember most of the events leading up to the accident. Cam spends time with Chloe partly to assuage his guilt, and partly because he’s attracted to her. He knows he needs to confess what happened between them prior to her accident, but he keeps putting it off, telling himself he’ll wait until she fully recovers.

Although Chloe knows Cam will leave as he always does, she still propositions him for a summer romance, only she’s smart enough to know that becoming intimate with him will surely break her heart. Although Chloe is willing to jump into a “no strings attached” relationship with Cam, she does make the stipulation of no sex.

The plot of the story moves at an effective, smooth pace detailing the “adventures” of Chloe and Cam and their evolving relationship, which starts out with Cameron “courting” Chloe just like in the good ole’ days, where they just talk and smooch.

Their friendship deepens as they begin to confide their doubts and insecurities to each other. Chloe is patient, forgiving, and nonjudgmental, which is exactly the type of woman Cam needs, as he struggles with past emotional and physical scars. Yes, he does act like a jerk at times, but Chloe is always right there, persistent in tearing down the barriers he has erected to protect himself.

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One of the most poignant scenes in the book is when Cam and Chloe are at their most vulnerable in deciding whether to take their relationship to the next level of intimacy:

“I need to know. Is there a chance I could break your heart, Chloe?”

She wasn’t sure how to answer. Her heart was already breaking for him…she was in love with him.

I break everyone’s heart…I don’t know how to stick anymore even when I want to.

“I could teach you.” If he turned her away now, she was done. She couldn’t face the humiliation of being so open with feelings for Cameron any longer if he shut her down. “If…if you want to know how.”

Without a word he moved over her, cupping her face with his calloused hands. “Every time,” he murmured, his expression grim, his gaze pained. “Every time I’m ready to pull back, you have this way of reeling me in.”

couple embracing love

I loved seeing them both so open and honest with each other, without hidden agendas. The author shows the authenticity of their feelings for each other as they fall in love. Chloe and Cam are both dynamic characters each growing into stronger and more resilient because of the other.

Yet, how far can their relationship go, as long as Cam continues to hide the truth from Chloe? He knows he needs to confess, but now he is too afraid he will lose her, if he does.

When the truth finally is revealed, Chloe is devastated, thinking Cam has only been in her life out of guilt.

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Can Chloe ever forgive him for what happened the evening of the accident? Or, will she even get the chance, since Cam’s first inclination in dealing with conflict is to run?

The author does an excellent job of showing the complexities of a real romantic relationship. One ultimate theme that emerged for me after reading this book —

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Although this is the second book in the Lone Pine Lake series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

I received an advanced review copy (ARC) of this book from the author  through Entangled Publishing for an honest review.

Rating:

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About the Author

Official Website

Goodreads Profile

Facebook

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Music to Complement the Book

This one is for you Chloe!

Lou Reed “Walk on the Wild Side”


Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

 

additional books you might like

Other Books in the Lone Pine Lake Series:

Jane’s Gift

Janes Gift

Purchase on Amazon: Jane’s Gift (Lone Pine Lake)

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 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.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

small AToMR

*****

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:

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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

******

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.

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 Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

EdgeofAlways_COVER

Author: J.A. Redmerski

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult

Expected release date: November 5, 2013

Pre-order on Amazon: The Edge of Always

 Pre-order on ITunes

Add to Goodreads Logotransparent

 

He was taking the long road. She was taking the road to nowhere. It just so happened that they led to the same place…

Five months ago, Camryn and Andrew, both dealing with personal hardships, met on a Greyhound bus. They fell in love and proved that when two people are meant to be together, fate will find a way to make it happen.

Now, in the highly anticipated sequel to THE EDGE OF NEVER, Camryn and Andrew are pursuing their love for music and living life to the fullest as they always swore to do. But when tragedy befalls them, their relationship is put to the ultimate test.

As Camryn tries to numb her pain, Andrew makes a bold decision: To get their life back on track, they’ll set out on another cross-country road trip. Together they find excitement, passion, adventure—and challenges they never could have anticipated.

Sexy. Daring. Dangerous. THE EDGE OF ALWAYS takes you on a ride you won’t forget .

THE EDGE OF ALWAYS Excerpt

Camryn shrieks and I start laughing as we dash away from the cows and toward the car.

“Awww, shiiiit!” I yell when I step in a huge pile of it.

Camryn cackles with laughter and we both practically stumble the rest of the way through the field, me trying to scrape the shit off the bottom of my shoe while running at the same time and Camryn’s flip-flops getting caught on the ground trying to keep up with her feet.

“I can’t believe that just happened!” Camryn laughs as we finally make it back to the car. She arches her body over forward and props her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath.

I’m out of breath, too, but I still relentlessly scrape the bottom of my shoe on the asphalt. “Dammit!” I say, rubbing my foot back and forth.

Camryn jumps up on the hood of the car, letting her legs hang over the front. “Can we finally say that we did it?” she asks with laughter in her voice.

I stand still finally and catch my breath. I look at her, at how beautiful and bright that smile of hers is and I say, “Yeah, babe, I think we can safely mark it off our list.”

“Good!” she says.

Then she points behind me. “Do it on the grass,” she says with one side of her mouth pinched into a hard line. “You’re just spreading it around doing it like that.”

I hop over into the grass and start rubbing my foot back and forth again. “Since when did you become an expert on shit?”

“Better watch your mouth,” she warns, getting into the driver’s seat.

“What are you going to do?” I taunt her.

She starts the Chevelle and revs the engine a few times pressing on the gas. There’s a cruel gleam in her eyes. She props her left arm across the top of the open window and next thing I know she’s driving slowly past me.

I give her the warning eye, but her grin just gets bigger.

“I know you won’t leave me here!” I shout as she goes past me.

Surely she wouldn’t….

She gets farther away and at first I call her bluff and just stand here, watching her get smaller and smaller…

Finally, I take off running after the car.

About the Author

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J.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of THE EDGE OF NEVER lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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Before you read The Edge of Always, you should read the first novel The Edge of Never

Edge of Never book cover

Book Description

Sometimes life takes you off course . . .

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she’s ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?

Purchase from Amazon: The Edge of Never

Review of Fighting For Flight (Fighting #1)

book Cover

Purchase from Amazon: Fighting for Flight (The Fighting Series)

Fighting For Flight (Fighting # 1) by Jamie Salsbury

Book Description

What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose? The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows and more than she expects. Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy, Jonah Slade. Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win. Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death. Will the hothead Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves? Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?

Review

Jamie Salsbury’s debut novel Fighting for Flight is a New Adult romance that should not be overlooked!  The setting for the novel is glitzy, “sin city” Las Vegas, Nevada, which is quite fitting given many of the unsavory elements involved in this book.   The author opens with a prologue that is so descriptive and well-written that I am immediately immersed into this fictitious world where love is a rarity and people are viewed as commodities. I am compelled to continue reading where the story jumps ahead to twenty years later.

Las Vegas Setting

The central characters are Jonah and Raven, two individuals who run in completely different social circles and who, most likely, would never have met if they both didn’t share an interest in classic cars. The story is told in present tense from both Jonah’s and Raven’s point-of-view.  I found this effective, as using the present tense provided a sense of immediacy to the story and intensified the suspense, keeping me engaged until the end.

Jonah “The Assassin” Blade is a celebrity MMA fighter who is actively training for an upcoming championship fight. He has worked hard his entire life to reach this moment and plans to win against his undefeated opponent. Jonah has also established a reputation as a man who never gets attached to any one woman.  Sex is as far as the relationship will go for Jonah, and sexual  conquests come easy for him, given his fame and good looks. He never takes a woman home with him, and he never stays overnight.  In his mind, “Just the thought of having some needy chick hanging on my arm, making me buy her crap, taking up my time with her petty issues about girl shit makes me shiver.”

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Jonah’s attitude slowly begins to change after he meets twenty-year-old Raven Morretti, a quiet, beautiful, and independent young woman who now lives on her own, after severing ties with a mother who  has always withheld affection and neglected her only daughter. Although Raven knows who her father is, she has never had any type of relationship with him. He has shown no inclination to get to know his daughter. Thus, Raven has never experienced the joys of having a loving, supportive family where she feels safe and protected.  Now, Raven, an automotive mechanic by trade, sports a tattoo of  birds in flight across her back. I think the tattooed birds are ravens and symbolize Raven’s own  journey of overcoming her confining environment, where she has been unable to thrive and propelling her forward, so she can be proactive in taking control of her future.  This flying motif is used effectively and consistently throughout the book, and readers learn early on that Raven’s journey really has only just begun.

girl with bird tattoos on back

When Jonah drops by a local garage looking for a mechanic to help him restore a ’61 Chevy Impala, he is pleasantly surprised to find that Raven is just the mechanic for this job. Their visual appraisal of each other, upon first meeting, reveals the sexual chemistry bubbling below the surface.  Raven is stunned when she gets a close-up look at Jonah and can’t help but notice his “well-muscled arms are covered with brilliantly colored tattoos that beckon to be touched.”

Jason Dean man with tattoos

Likewise, Jonah also finds himself fascinated with Raven: “The way she walked out the garage all rolling hips and sex. I had to cross my arms over my chest to keep from reaching out to trace the dip of her collarbone.”

female mechanic 3

However, after meeting her, Jonah finds that instead of merely lusting over Raven’s body, which is typical for him, he keeps picturing her face with  “the aquamarine color of her eyes, so unique I had to fight from getting lost in them.”

2 aqua eyes

As the two work together over the next week, restoring the Impala, they both move beyond their superficial attraction to find a genuine interest in each other. Their friendly banter establishes a level of trust where they both are able to share their deepest secrets. Raven painfully reveals that her mother is a prostitute working for infamous pimp, Dominick Morretti, who fathered her. Her fear that Jonah will reject her now that he knows the truth reveals just how deeply her sense of self-worth has been affected by her childhood circumstances.  Hearing the pain behind her confession only brings out the alpha in Jonah, who longs to care for and protect this beautiful, lonely girl.

“Look at me Raven…You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever known. You’re kind, smart, funny, gracious…I want you. And that includes everything that makes you who you are.”

He wants me. This amazing beautiful man wants me. Have I ever felt wanted before? A lone tear rolls down my cheek.

Jonah and Raven’s relationship is so intense and they fall in love so quickly, I’m caught off guard. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. Can you really fall in love with someone you’ve only known for a week? I suppose it is possible, but I think at this point they are more in lust with rather than in love with each other.

making out in bed moving in color

I think their intense passion for each other and growing intimacy provide a level of comfort and emotional stability that has been lacking in their lives . Raven craves love and attention since she has been denied that all of her life. Jonah offers to give her that:

“Baby I promise you that you’ll never want for physical contact again.” He bends down and his hazel eyes narrow into mine. “I’ll make it my life’s mission to make up for every single second you were neglected.”

intimacy in black and white

When Jonah lost his father at the age of twelve, he became emotionally detached, determined not to get too close to anyone again, unwilling to risk further heartbreak and loss. Raven awakens feelings in him that he has long suppressed:

“I was cold. Dead on the inside from the time I heard about my dad’s accident. Never felt anything outside of kicking ass or a killer hit in the octagon. Fighting gave me my breath, but you brought me back to life.”

Then, the unthinkable happens. Dominick contacts Raven and finally wants to meet with her. Raven’s hope that he finally wants to be a part of her life as a father is crushed when he reveals his true intentions. His character is so sinister, it is unimaginable to believe the cruelty he is capable of inflicting upon his daughter after she turns twenty-one.  Raven is beyond devastated:

“And just like that, right when my life starts looking beautiful, it disappears like a mirage in the desert.”

hysterical-crying

Later, Jonah finds Raven in her apartment curled up in a fetal position. woman in fetal position She tells him, “It’s over…My life, no matter what happens is over.”

Jonah is determined to save Raven. He won’t let her go. He is willing to sacrifice everything he has worked for his entire life for this woman he loves:

“You’re a part of me now. I’d do anything for you. I’ll fight for your life as I’d fight for my own.”

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The major conflict is whether both Dominick and Jonah will each hold up their end of the agreement they have made over Raven. The suspense increasingly builds to a surprising climax that literally left me holding my breath until the heart throbbing conclusion. Can their love survive the struggle they must endure? How far will Raven and Jonah go to stay together?

Fighting for Flight is a beautifully written, sensual romance that depicts the passion of one couple to fight against fate and shows the length people will go to in order to save someone they love. The theme of sacrifice is examined not only through Jonah and Raven’s relationship, but also in the secondary characters’ lives as well. The author has created a tightly woven, unified plot that provides a satisfying conclusion.

Rating:

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About the Author

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music blue black round 50 Music to Complement the Book

This playlist comes straight from songs mentioned throughout the book:

This song is a selection chosen by SoulMusik69 and myself  for the championship fight:

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