Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Author Spotlight: Brighton Walsh - Plus One

Today we shine the spotlight on Brighton Walsh and her new novel,


Available from Carina Press on May 6th, 2013

From the blurb:

Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn't want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can't pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn't expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy.

When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn't take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia's desire to stay "just friends" becomes clear, Ian's feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?

An excerpt:

The hotel room was lavish, all sophistication and modern lines. Everything was sleek and upscale, including the single king-size bed dominating the room. When she’d first asked Ian to come, he’d insisted that sharing a room was fine. After all, you could practically sleep four in a king-size bed, and they were both adults.
But now…
Ian dropped his bag at the foot of the bed, bringing her attention back to him. She knew her cheeks were heated from her thoughts, from the fantasies she’d been living out in her head for the past two hours. The way he was looking at her now didn’t help, either.
With a barely noticeable quirk of his eyebrow, he asked, “What time do we need to leave for the wedding?”
Olivia glanced at her watch, noticing it was almost four. “Um, I don’t think the ceremony location is far from here, so we have a little bit.”
She put her suitcase on the bed and opened it, pulling out her garment bag to hang her dress. “I do have to shower, though.” She turned her attention to him, noticing he was staring intently at the bag she’d just hung up.
“How about you?”
His eyes shifted to hers. His gaze was full of searing heat, and she felt her face warm even further. “Yeah, I’ll shower before we go, too.”
That handful of words somehow managed to reignite the low, crackling fire in her body. Her brain immediately went to her land of fantasies, picturing exactly how he’d look under the shower spray, rivulets of water cascading down his toned chest and over the hard ridges of his abdomen, then disappearing even lower…
The room suddenly felt stifling, with his large frame filling up so much of it and his piercing eyes focusing directly on her. She needed some space to regroup.
“I’ll hurry then.” Without another word, she grabbed her toiletries bag and headed into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her before collapsing against it. Her breath left her in a deep sigh, and she closed her eyes.
“Oh, sure, Liv. An overnight trip sounds just great,” she mumbled quietly to herself. “Just what you need to stop thinking about him naked.”
Shaking her head at herself, she turned the water on and again tried not to imagine what it would be like to share the space with Ian. To trace the water as it flowed over the muscles of his back. To be flush with him, naked flesh to naked flesh. To feel him pounding into her from behind while her hands pressed against the tile wall.
With a quiet curse, she undressed, silently hoping that the shower head was detachable.

Buy this book: Amazon

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter 

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy to the reader and do not constitute an endorsement of this book and/or the booksellers listed. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Author Spotlight: Derrolyn Anderson - The Athena Effect

Today we shine the spotlight on Derrolyn Anderson, author of 

The Athena Effect and The Mackenzie Legacy


From the blurb of The Athena Effect:

Caledonia has been kept a secret her entire life, raised in isolation by two very troubled people. Despite her parent’s disturbing fits, Cal is perfectly content, living at one with the nature that surrounds her, and finding adventure inside the pages of her beloved books. When an awful tragedy tears her away from her remote cabin in the woods, nothing she’s ever read has prepared her for a world that she knows very little about.

Girls and motorcycles are what bad-boy Cal’s life is all about. Brought up in a raucous party house by his biker brother, he’s free to do as he pleases, going through the motions on his final days of high school. Aimless, Cal stopped thinking about his future a long time ago.

Attacked by a gang of thugs while running an errand for his brother, Cal is in serious trouble until a fierce girl appears out of nowhere to intervene. She chases off three grown men, sparing Cal a brutal beating before disappearing into the night like a spirit. He can’t stop thinking about his mysterious rescuer, and when she turns out to be the weird new girl at school who goes out of her way to avoid him, he can’t contain his curiosity.

He’s never met anyone like her before, and the more he learns about the unusual girl who shares his nickname, the more he wants to know. Cal can’t help falling for Cal, but can he keep her from falling victim to a dangerous enemy from her parent’s tragic past?

From the blurb of The Mackenzie Legacy:

As their story continues, Calvin and Caledonia find themselves madly in love, on the run, and nearly out of money. When Cal stumbles upon a way to cash in on Cali’s powers, their life on the road becomes a life of leisure. Despite the easy money and newfound luxury, Caledonia’s conscience begins to trouble her.

A disturbing warning only serves to confirm her misgivings, making her question her purpose in life. Finally, a shocking discovery about the true nature of her powers points the way forward, sending the two Cals on a dangerous rescue mission.
Caledonia tries her best to right the wrongs of the past, but will she only end up provoking new and even more dangerous enemies?

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Website | Pinterest

Buy The Athena Effect: Amazon |  Smashwords | Kobo

As part of the spotlight, Derrolyn is giving away one e-copy of each book and the amazing bracelet below. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Buy links are provided as a courtesy to the reader and do not constitute an endorsement of these books and/or the booksellers listed. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Jami Davenport - Down by Contact

Today we shine the spotlight on Jami Davenport and her new novel,

Down by Contact.

From the blurb:

It's showtime. After twelve years in the league, all Zach Murphy wants is a Super Bowl ring. He’s been about hard hits not smooth manners, about breaking quarterbacks not making small talk at cocktail parties. But now he’s shattered something else. After dumping a tray of drinks on the team owner’s snooty daughter and accidentally feeling up the Governor’s wife, his tenure with his team looks perilously short. And things are getting worse.
Life is looking up for Kelsie Carrington-Richmond. A onetime beauty pageant star and mean girl, she only recently stopped living out of her car. But those times have passed. Her finishing school for real men has a real shot, and the Seattle Lumberjacks have hired her to polish their roughest player. Except…it’s Zach. Long ago she broke his heart. He’s just the beast she remembers—gruff, protective—but she’s nothing like the beauty from his past. Yet, getting knocked down happens, and getting back up makes a contender. And they both have the hearts of champions.
An excerpt:

Kelsie Carrington glided across the room straight toward him. His Cactus Prairie High School crush here? In Seattle? What the fuck? Wasn’t halfway across the country far enough to escape her and those painful memories? He blinked several times, but there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with his vision. His one-date disaster balanced on a pair of heels so high the altitude should require an oxygen mask. Her blond hair shone as brightly as the gold in a coveted Super Bowl ring. Each graceful step of those long legs carried her closer to him.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ARC Review: Hunger Awakened by Dee Carney

Hunger Awakened (Vampire Hunger #2)From the blurb:

There’s something inside of him, some dormant part that’s been awakened. And now it wants to be set free...
Something’s wrong with Sebastian Kent. Already considered an outsider in the vampire community as a half-vampire, half-something else, he’ll do everything in his power to hide his weakness. But when sickness strikes, he has no choice but to turn to a human for help—a woman whose touch provides his only relief.
Alice Bowman is hiding her own illness, one that has left her homeless. When she comes to Bast’s aid, she doesn't expect to be thrust into the world of vampires. But he offers her refuge and a job researching his family history in the hope of finding a clue to his mysterious affliction. She can’t resist his offer of protection - and the chance to spend more time with the man who arouses her every desire.
But as Bast and Alice’s hunger for each other grows, so does the power of Bast’s unexplained half. And soon his unknown past and her uncertain future threaten to keep them apart forever....

My rating:

When I requested this book on Netgalley, I didn't realize it was part of a series. And in the end, it didn't really matter because it stands entirely on its own, without needing to have read the first one.

This review contains some spoilers below the break, so please proceed at your own risk.

Author Spotlight: James Lyon - Kiss of the Butterflly

Today we shine the spotlight on James Lyon and his debut novel,

Kiss of the Butterfly

From the blurb:

"The smell of blood is in the air, I sense it even now. People thirst for it; the entire country is mad with desire for it. And now we are going to war with our brothers because they look like us, and because we can smell our blood coursing through their veins..."

A mysterious letter starts a university student on a journey into the war-torn lands of rapidly disintegrating Yugoslavia. Naively trusting his enigmatic professor, the student unwittingly descends into a dystopian crucible of decay, destruction, passion, death, romance, lust, immorality, genocide, and forbidden knowledge promising immortality. As the journey grows ever more perilous, he realizes he must confront an ancient evil that has been once again loosed upon the earth: from medieval Bosnia to enlightenment-era Vienna, from the bright beaches of modern-day Southern California to the exotically dark cityscapes of Budapest and Belgrade, and horrors of Bosnia.

A bit more info:

Meticulously researched and set against the background of collapsing Yugoslavia, Kiss of the Butterfly weaves together intricate threads from age-old Balkan folklore and modern events, to create a tapestry of passion and betrayal, obsession and desire, the thirst for life and the hunger for death. Kiss of the Butterfly is a literary thriller rooted in actual events.

In the year of his death, 1476, the Prince of Wallachia Vlad Dracula committed a bloody massacre under the cloak of medieval Bosnia’s forested mountains in the town of Srebrenica. History repeated itself 500 years later in July 1995 in Europe’s worst massacre since World War II. For most people, the two events seemed unconnected…

Until now.

About the author:

James Lyon is an accidental Balkanologist, having spent the better part of 32 years studying and working with the lands of the former Yugoslavia. He has a Ph.D. in Modern Balkan History from UCLA and a B.A. in Russian from BYU.

He has lived in Germany, Russia, England, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, and California, and spent the better part of 18 years living in the lands of the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia, and has worked in Macedonia and Kosovo. He has traveled widely, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East, and all over Europe. He currently works in Sarajevo and bounces back and forth to Belgrade.

In his spare time he likes sailing through the Dalmatian islands and eating Sachertorte in Vienna at the old Habsburg Imperial Court's Confectionary Bakery, Demel. He lost his cat in the forests of Bosnia and can't find it. If you see a black and white cat that ignores you when you call the name "Cile II", a reward is being offered...provided the cat hasn't turned into a vampire.

An excerpt:

‘I’ll let Marko tell you everything in Budapest. Better you hear it from him than from me. Please, take care of yourself. But if you have any problems, come see me, and I’ll help you as best I can.’ Steven sat stunned.
‘Marko has always been a strong, good man,’ Mrs. Lazarevic said. ‘But he is a fool when it comes to matters of the heart.’
‘Excuse me?’
‘Never mind. We shall speak only about what is important, not gossip.’ Her voice was now more severe, and she seemed to say it more to herself than him. But then she decided to enlighten him a little. ‘I have seen the signs, Steven… They feed… I feel it, sense it, in the air, in the wind, in the trees, in the soil. It is they who brought this darkness to the land. Even now they think they are undiscovered. As long as they believe this, you are safe. Yet nature abhors them. Their very presence is an open wound on the face of the land, and nature screams out in pain.’
‘They fear Marko will come for them again and finish the job, as he must, and this time he will not be soft-hearted as before. For them there will be no redemption, nor will there be an Emperor to show some foolish notion of mercy. But they have grown careless and complacent, gorged and bloated on the freshly-spilled blood of innocents. For now they focus on Niedermeier. For your sake, I hope he is discreet,’ she fixed him with an accusing stare. ‘And,’ she added, ‘alive.’
She resumed: ‘You have partaken of new knowledge, much as did Father Adam and Mother Eve. Like unto the fruit of the knowledge of Good and Evil, it can kill. You must be extremely careful with this knowledge and mention nothing of it or your research to anyone, even your professors and most trusted friends. For in the day they partake, they shall surely die.’
Connect with the author: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

As part of the spotlight, James is giving away two e-copies of his book. Good luck!!

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy to the reader and do not constitute an endorsement of this product or the sellers listed. I have not read this book. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Maureen Dudley - The Plateau: Voices of the Earth

Today we shine the spotlight on Maureen Dudley and her debut novel

The Plateau: Voices of the Earth,

book one in a trilogy showcasing the need to preserve and protect natural environments for this generation and those still to come.

From the blurb:

The first of a thought provoking trilogy that dares readers to explore consciousness of the mind and observe how their everyday actions are having an impact on the world around them. 
What if you have half a second to stop the extinction of part of the human race? What if that pivotal day to save humanity depends on you saving your own life? Catherine’s life and humanity’s continued existence depend on her ability and willingness to believe in an altered, future timeline with a colony of Earth inhabitants.
It couldn’t come at a worse time. Catherine’s father dies unexpectedly. The pressure of her research and advocacy work adds dead weight to her life’s precarious tipping points. Catherine’s losing battles includes sleep deprivation. Sleep eludes her, and when it does come, she finds herself repeatedly dreaming about standing on the same high plateau with her greyhound dog, Addy, and a stranger (Keitha) and her dog (Murphey) surrounded by plants and animals and insects, and then poof! The living landscape transforms into ash.
Catherine does not suspect that she is the lynch pin, but she is the one who must stop the Machiavellians from shifting Earth’s future timeline, that will ultimately result in the colony’s extinction. But, because of her own beliefs in the Hau de no sau nee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) principal that we have to consider the effect decisions have on descendants seven generations into the future. Catherine puts this belief to the ultimate test when she learns that ‘the event’ is her own death. In order to stop it, she must walk directly into its path.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blogtour: Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer by Brian Sweany

Welcome to the kick-off tour stop for 

Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer

by Brian Sweany

From the blurb:
My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles…
And so goes another day in the over-sexed, drunk, occasionally well-intentioned, occasionally Catholic teenage life of Hank Fitzpatrick. His young adulthood has its dark moments, but it isn't dark. It has its tragedies, but it isn't tragic. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer speaks to those nostalgic readers young and old who can quote John Hughes films, recite Guns N’ Roses lyrics, and are still pissed off that Freaks and Geeks got cancelled. These readers want to see the Homecoming king fall flat on his face, implode in spectacular fashion, dust himself off, and then do it all over again. And if somewhere along the way they’re reminded of the redemptive power of a belly dancer’s love—well, that’s okay too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Release Blitz: Short Rides by Lorelei James

Release Blitz!!! 

Bestselling author Lorelei James is releasing a collection of novellas from the Rough Riders series:

Short Rides

From the blurb:

King of Hearts* — Deputy Cam McKay deals with a murder/suicide case on Valentine’s Day.

Rough Road — Chassie, Trevor and Edgard Glanzer spend a romantic weekend away from the ranch and kids celebrating their anniversary…only to return home to face their biggest challenge yet.

All Knocked Up — Keely and Jack Donohue are having a baby. Given Keely’s raging pregnancy hormones, will Jack need to wear a cup in the delivery room?

*previously published in the Guns and Roses anthology in 2012

Short Rides is an anthology compilation of two novellas and one short story in the Rough Riders world. These are NOT meant to be read as standalone stories, but are a peek into favorite character’s lives after the happily ever afte

An excerpt from King of Hearts:

A murder/suicide.

In Sundance, Wyoming.

It was one of the worst scenes Deputy Cam McKay had dealt with. And he’d seen a lot of horrific things over the years. He’d served several rotations in Iraq and witnessed the aftermath of suicide bombers. He’d seen animals used as vessels to hold bombs. He’d been in a caravan that’d hit a string of IEDs, resulting in death and dismemberment of his fellow soldiers. He hadn’t come away from war unscathed—he’d lost most of his left leg, part of his hand, and bore scars, both visible and invisible.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Author Spotlight: Stacy Green - Tin God

Today we shine the spotlight on Stacy Green and her latest novel, 


released April 3rd, 2013

Tin God is the first in the Delta Crossroads series and is set in fictional Roselea, Mississippi, which is modeled after historical Natchez. 

From the blurb:

Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi. 
I just murdered your wife…again. 
An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where he and Jaymee’s worlds collide. Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost. But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ARC Review: Second Hand by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan

Second Hand (Tucker Springs, #2)From the blurb:

Paul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she's left him with a house he can't afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he's not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic. El Rozal doesn't do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn't apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself. Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There's no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El's line of work, one man's junk is another man's treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn't mean second best.
My rating:

"I want to be the first choice for someone. Just once."

That quote perhaps sums up this book best. Paul Hannon, a shy, somewhat insecure veterinary assistant, is utterly devastated when his long-time girlfriend leaves him for another, more successful man, shortly before he plans to propose. Alone, with little money, Paul is struggling to restart his life, when he meets El Rozal, a local pawn shop owner. Paul has never really questioned his sexuality, but when El begins to pursue him, he's both scared and excited.

El is dealing with a crazy family (his "Mami", the hoarder and his sister who keeps dating the wrong men, among others) and struggling with his growing attraction for Paul, a man who doesn't seem to be gay and is not El's usual type at all.

What develops is a sweet, super cute romance, with a few LOL moments, a couple of romantic (sexual) situations and a climatic ending that was utterly swoon worthy.

What jarred me, and what ultimately cost this book its fifth star, were the POV changes. While I realize that this book was written by two authors, and each presumably wrote one of the POVs, it took me out of the story whenever the book changed from Paul's 1st limited person POV to El's 3rd person limited POV. I would have liked it better if both POVs had been written in the same manner, in either 1st or 3rd person, and a better distinction had been made between the POV switches.

Still, this is definitely a book to check out if you like LGBT romances, and certainly a quick read, perfect for a day on the beach. Give it a try.

I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

ARC Review: Rush Me by Allison Parr

Rush Me
From the blurb:

When post-grad Rachael Hamilton accidentally gatecrashes a pro-athlete party, she ends up face-to-face with Ryan Carter, the NFL’s most beloved quarterback. While most girls would be thrilled to meet the attractive young millionaire, Rachael would rather spend time with books than at sporting events, and she has more important things to worry about than romance. Like her parents pressuring her to leave her unpaid publishing internship for law school. Or her brother, who’s obliviously dating Rachael’s high school bully. Or that same high school’s upcoming reunion.
Still, when Ryan’s rookie teammate attaches himself to Rachael, she ends up cohosting Friday night dinners for half a dozen football players. Over pancake brunches, charity galas, and Alexander the Great, Rachael realizes all the judgments she’d made about Ryan are wrong. But how can a Midwestern Irish-Catholic jock with commitment problems and an artsy, gun-shy Jewish New Englander ever forge a partnership? Rachael must let down her barriers if she wants real love–even if that opens her up to pain that could send her back into her emotional shell forever.
My rating:

This was definitely one of the best romances I've read so far this year. Rush Me delivers a (mostly) realistic love story between an NFL football player and a girl next door publishing assistant.

Upon their first meeting, Ryan Carter does not make the best impression on Rachael Hamilton, when she finds him in a compromising situation with another girl after accidentally gate-crashing the after-game party he's attending with his teammates.

From the start, their relationship is rocky and fraught with wrong assumptions and misunderstandings. They exchange verbal zingers left and right, and neither trusts the other. And yet, there's something there, for both of them, that compels them to lower their defenses just a bit and slowly try to become friends. And as the relationship progresses, both Ryan and Rachael fall hard, but both are afraid of rejection and heartache, and thus never completely lower the defensive walls. Rachael is the kind of heroine you sometimes want to slap, because she gives a little and then takes four steps back. She makes assumptions about Ryan based on his looks, his money and his past, and none of them suited her character. Her hurtful words were, well, hurtful, and I could understand how Ryan would react the way he did, when he fought back.

She doesn't really give him a full chance, and when they really come to blows, it's a fight that nearly ends their relationship. And then it's up to Rachael to make a grand gesture to win back the love of her life.

Ryan is hero that's hard to like. That's partly because we only see him through Rachael's eyes, but also because he makes similar assumptions about her. He doesn't trust her initially, thinking that she's just a gold digger like the groupies he's been around. And he gives just as good as he gets, throwing hurtful comments right back at Rachael when her fears get the better of her.

The writing is great - not overly flowery, not overly detailed, and the dialogue is snarky, fun and often sarcastic, but also emotional when the situations warrant it. The author drew me in from the get-go, and I couldn't put this book down for any length of time. With a great cast of supporting characters lending a helping hand while dealing with their own issues, I breezed through this book.

As a quick summer read, this book was as close to perfect for me as it could get. I'll definitely check out future offerings by this author.

I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

ARC Review: Plus One by Brighton Walsh

Plus One
From the blurb:

Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn't want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can't pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn't expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy. When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn't take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia's desire to stay "just friends" becomes clear, Ian's feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?
My rating:

Brighton Walsh delivers a super cute, erotic romance about a boy whose been in love with his sister's best friend for years, and a girl who has a hard time believing that the boy in question might actually love her. Both are afraid to ruin a long friendship by giving in to the mutual attraction. The author crams a lot of character development into a short story, letting both parties have their say, and then culminates the romance just the way I like it.

It's a perfect book to read on the beach or in front of a fire, dreaming of a hot summer romance.

Nicely done. I'll be checking out more from this author, that's for sure!

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

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

ARC Review: Pure and Sinful by Killian McRae

Pure & SinfulFrom the blurb:

When it turns out your ex was actually a sexy demon sent by the devil to seduce you to evil, you'd think the next guy, no matter what he's like, couldn't be a worse decision. Enter Father Marc Angeletti, a smooth talking piece of forbidden fruit with onyx eyes and a razor wit, and Riona Dade may as well start packing her luggage for damnation now. But come Hell or... well, Hell, Marc, Riona, and demigod Dee Zitka have a mission: serve as a Pure Soul and vanquish Lucifer's minion scum from the face of the Earth to protect humanity from evil. Oh, and don't get seduced into sin yourself, because a fallen Pure Soul is one of Lucifer's biggest thrills. As long as Riona and Marc can keep things professional and north of the sheets, no problem, right? Yeah, that worked out great in the Thornbirds, too...
My rating:

When I saw this book on Netgalley, I didn't realize who the author was. If I had, I might not have requested it, and would have missed out on an actually very interesting book.

The author combines themes of heaven and hell, good and evil with witchcraft and forces beyond human knowledge to craft an book that is full of action and romance, yet also delivers a few great messages.

She doesn't shy away from sacrificing her characters, if need be, so bring your tissues as well. The characters are nicely developed, and there is plenty of snarky dialogue that had me giggling and laughing out loud on numerous occasions. Yet, there are also deep emotions and very human struggles, as well as reminders that not everything is black and white, and that something inherently evil might still have a bit of good inside.

Not bad, Ms. McRae. Not bad at all.

I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Chris Ross - Born & Raised

Today we shine the spotlight on Chris Ross, author of 

Born & Raised,

a coming-of-age novel set in the 80s and 90s. 

From the blurb:

Parked in a small southern Indiana town, Born & Raised is set where hope and defeat stain two sides of the same coin – a coin tossed to the kid working the night games at the men’s industrial softball league even though all industry moved on years ago. It is the coming of age story of Sean Yokam, a reluctant nineteen year-old trucker, fighting not to come apart. As Sean sifts through the two summers he believes have brought him to where he’s now stuck, he starts to realize that the bad things happening are just the things people do to one another in order to survive.

The summer of ’84 delivers Sean the first chill of neglect as his father, Roy, and his sister, Billie, desperately try to fill in the void left by Sean’s mother. Roy, turning every success into a failure, roams the used car lots, flips through the pages of International Male catalog and soaks up whatever there is to be found at the singles’ scene, while Billie, like an animal chasing after its own tail, does the best she can on the fate of scratch off-lottery tickets and the pre-set radio stations of a Dodge Dynasty whose seats are draped in beach towels that reek of Little Kings beer and suntan lotion.

The summer of ’90 finds them, six years later, in one way or another, living up to the Yokam family code of shit in one hand, wish in the other, see which fills up first. Sean, a high school graduate, finds himself setting out on his own – not to escape, but to find a way back. Back to what or where, he’s not sure, but as life unfolds for him, it’s becoming painfully clear that love, in the end, is blind – but only to those who aren’t looking for it.
An excerpt:
"Turf's funeral"

The next morning I found my sister Billie sitting in the kitchen painting her toenails. Cathy Pater called—she said. We’re burying Turf today at her house. You’re coming. I told Billie—But I have a swimming lesson at the Y. Billie blew on her toes. I don’t think you’ll drown if you just miss this one lesson—she said. I said—I don’t see why I have to go. You’re going—she said. And that Brad Shyler guy? He’s coming with us. We’re using his truck. I talked to him last night and told him I was going to tell Cathy it was a hit and run and that nobody saw anything, so don’t say a word to her about Brad being the one.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ARC Review: Three Stages of Love: Lust by T.C. Anthony

Lust (Three Stages of Love, #1)
From the blurb:
Evangeline Chase is standing at the edge of a crossroad. After choosing to be blissfully ignorant for far too long and willfully ignoring what her life has been lacking, fate is about to intervene. When Alexander Mason, a striking and powerful venture capitalist, is introduced as her new boss, Eva is overwhelmed by an intoxicating cocktail of hormones and lust that leaves her struggling to maintain her composure and more importantly, control of her life.

With an undeniable urge to dominate her new boss, her own lust-filled fantasies lead to a transformation that shakes her to her core. But when Alexander challenges Eva to satisfy her carnal urges, she is forced to choose between her career, her desires, and an unconventional and lustful relationship. Consumed by fear and forced to maintain control at all costs, Eva must decide if having it all is worth risking her career, her world, and possibly, love.

My rating:

Flounced at about 60%, though I skimmed from about 40% on.

I hate to give this book a single star, but it wasn't worthy of two, and I can't in good conscience give anyone the impression that it is. I seem to be in the minority with that assessment, but for me, even erotica needs to have a bit more meat than simple PWP. There is no plot. There's an attempt at plot but it falls entirely flat. They meet at a bar, while Eva(ngeline) is wasted and propositions him. They next meet when Alexander is introduced as her temporary boss, while the company she works for changes ownership.

Eva(ngeline) is a stupid, bitchy, control-freak, horrible heroine, and Alexander is a stupid, possessive, whimpy control-freak, horrible hero. She's like Edwistian Grey-Cullen in a skirt and he's like her male counterpart.

They deserve each other. Both are handling themselves like stupid teenager without a care to their jobs or anyone else, and both are a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.

And I didn't buy their romance, what there was of it. It seemed that both had some uncontrollable animalistic urge to mate whenever they were in the same room, but also didn't want to give up control to the other. No actual feelings, despite intense gazes and rock hard d!cks and wetness that just gushes out of her. I'm paraphrasing here, but not by much.

The writing is terrible, almost like a stream of consciousness, as if the author had sat down one day and just dumped a whole bunch of thoughts into a file, without much rhyme or reason, or possibly after watching a porn filmed in an office setting. Very little editing, if any, seems to have been done. Words are missing, punctuation is messy, and the whiplash speed with which the characters change moods is frightening.

Also, if you include sex toys in your dialogue, please at least know what they're called. It's a ball gag, not a gag ball. And don't have the heroine think how huge and thick and long his d!ck is, and in the next sentence swallow it whole. Unless she's practiced with a coke bottle or is a seasoned porn star, that's unlikely.

By the way, men shouldn't giggle. Ever. Seriously. Especially not if your hero is supposed to be that hot, exciting male specimen we're all supposed to dream of. That was my first WTF moment. It only got worse from there.

Yeah...terrible, all of it. I cannot recommend this to anyone.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

I received a free ARC from the author's publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ARC Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

The Tragedy Paper
From the blurb:

Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.
Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their love.

My rating:

"Enter here to be and find a friend."

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when requesting this ARC on Netgalley, but the summary was intriguing, and I was hoping for a bit of YA fare that was different than most.

And boy, did Elizabeth LaBan deliver. In an exceptional debut novel, she explores the theme of tragedy in both literary and emotional contexts. What is tragedy? How is it defined, and is it possible that one person's tragedy is another person's unfortunate accident? What makes a tragic figure?

With crisp and thoughtful writing, the author paints a deep and moving picture of a prestigious high school/boarding school and the young men and women at the center of the book.

Each year, the seniors are assigned a 'tragedy paper' for their English class, like a thesis of sorts, that makes up a big chunk of their final grade. And each year, the incoming seniors worry from the get-go about this paper, some more than others.

Duncan Meade is an incoming senior, and school tradition dictates that each previous year's senior leaves a 'treasure' in their respective room for the next student assigned. When Duncan finds out that his room, the smallest on the senior floor, was previously occupied by Tim Macbeth, the story's unconventional narrator, he's at first a bit bummed out.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cover Reveal: Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan

Cover Reveal of 

Mountain Charm 

~ by Sydney Logan ~

“True love and sweet whispers, till death do us part; Send someone to love my Appalachian heart.” 

At the age of thirteen, Angelina Clark followed in the footsteps of her ancestors by casting an Appalachian love spell, which promised she would blossom into a beautiful and gifted woman who would find her true love. A young Angelina had been thrilled to participate in the sacred ritual, but through the years, her father’s untimely death and her mother’s failing health have shaken Angelina’s magical faith to its core. As her twenty-first birthday approaches, she refuses to practice her supernatural gifts and no longer believes in the love charm. 
That is, until Dylan Thomas arrives on her front porch. Dylan, a Nashville writer, travels to the mountain town of Maple Ridge to unearth the family’s supernatural secrets. While her clairvoyant mother is convinced that Dylan is her daughter’s soul mate, Angelina refuses to see the nosy reporter as anything more than a nuisance. Despite their constant bickering, sparks fly. Dylan admits he feels strangely drawn to Angelina and is in no hurry to leave Maple Ridge or publish his magazine article. 
Fearful that his emotions are being influenced by the spell, a stubborn Angelina struggles to fight her own budding attraction to the reporter. The two inevitably grow closer just as her mother’s health begins to deteriorate, and Angelina is faced with the possibility of selling the family’s music shop to pay the mounting medical expenses. Desperate to help the woman he loves, Dylan explores his own family tree and finds support from an unlikely source. Can he finally prove his love is real—spell or no spell? 
A story filled with love, friendship, family, and just a hint of Appalachian magic, Mountain Charm will leave you spellbound.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Announcement: Cover Reveal for Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan 4/8/13

Be sure to stop by on Monday, 4/8/13 for the cover reveal of Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan and your chance to win one of three $10 Amazon giftcards!!

See you then!

ARC Review: Selling Out by Amber Lin

Selling Out (The Lost Girls, #2)From the blurb:
Shelly Laurent escapes her life as a high-class escort, but against her better judgment she takes the scared young Ella with her. Framed for murder by her pimp and his dirty cops in retaliation, Shelly turns to the one man who could be her salvation: Detective Luke Cameron. She doesn’t know if she can trust him or if he’s just a mirage, but it's time for her to take a stand. Just one shot, make it count, she’ll fight Ella’s demons—and face her own. Shelly throws light on the shadows of Chicago’s underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she’s come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.

My rating:

Selling Out, the 2nd installment in the Lost Girls series, is another testament to Amber Lin's writing and plotting prowess.

You might remember Shelly from Amber's previous book, Giving It Up. The prostitute with the heart of gold, who sells her body to keep Allie and Bailey safe, gets her own story in Selling Out.

The book picks up a few months after the end of the previous novel, and Shelly is trying to keep her promise to hot cop Luke. She just doesn't know how.

Henri, her pimp, also has no interest in letting her leave the business. He reels her in again with threats, and Shelly again sacrifices herself to keep someone else safe.

Underneath the call girl mask, Shelly longs for someone to take care of her, to love her and to make her feel safe. She just doesn't know how to find that someone, yet still hopes, but doesn't want to admit, that hot cop Luke will be the one.

Luke has his own secrets and his own dark past, something that is slowly revealed throughout the book. In a dramatic climax, questions are answered and Amber Lin throws in a surprise or two you don't see coming.

We also get to meet Phillip again, and are introduced to a new character, Ella. From what I understand, they're getting their own book soon.

The writing is superb. Amber takes her deeply flawed characters, and strips them to the bone, only to reassemble them again. We get to see how Shelly struggles with her feelings for Luke and her feelings of inadequacy, considering he's a cop and she's a high class hooker. Little does she know that Luke has put her on a similar pedestal, and thus their relationship is fraught with miscommunication and non-communication, and neither knows how the other feels.

There are explicit sexual situations which make this book unsuitable for anyone below the legal age, but all serve a specific purpose to either move the plot or showcase the deep flaws in the characters. There were a couple of scenes that might squick people out a bit, but they didn't bother me, because I could understand the motivations of the characters involved.

And this is precisely where Amber Lin's writing shines. She hooks (no pun intended) you from the start, and you become immediately immersed into the characters, feeling for and with them. It's gritty. It's horrifying. It's in your face nasty people. And it's people struggling with their demons. I held my breath a few times during the action scenes, and while the ending might be a wee bit predictable, I was very happy with it nonetheless. I got the ending I wanted for Luke and Shelly.

Don't go into this book expecting an erotica romance. It's not. If you're expecting a story like Pretty Woman, this isn't it.

It's an honest, no nonsense study of deeply flawed characters who despite and because of their flaws fight their way out of adversity and come out triumphant.

There's nothing sweet or fluffy in this book. And yet, that is one of the very reasons this book is absolutely worth your time.

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Twitter | Website

I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment.

Until next time,

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy to the reader and do not constitute an endorsement by this blog and its owner. No affiliation exists between the blog owner and the booksellers listed. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

ARC Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)
From the blurb:

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally. Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

My rating:

Review in two parts.

3/4/13 - just finished reading:

Yeah...no words. No words to describe the tears rolling down my face and the smidgen of hope pushing up from my throat when I read the final paragraph.

Julie Kagawa, you have made me gasp and choke and cry and smile, you stomped on my poor heart after you ripped it from my chest, and I don't have words yet to really do this book justice.

4/3/13 - I might have some words now:

So I'm finally allowed to put up a review for this. Emphasis on 'allowed to' because I don't know that I can really find the words to describe what this book did to me.

The Eternity Cure is, simply said, amazingly awesome. Allison Sekemoto kicks serious butt, again. And Julie Kagawa is utterly evil, again, but still in a good way.

Since I don't want to spoil anyone, I'll only say this:

The book picks up right at the end of The Immortal Rules, with Allie leaving Eden (and thus Zeke) behind. She's following the pull of Kanin, her creator, since she's hellbent on saving him from the clutches of the insane Sarren. In her dreams, Allie sees through Kanin's eyes, and lemme tell you, those 'visions' chilled me to the bone. Little did I know that it would only get chillier from there.

When she finds Jackal instead, she agrees to join forces with him to rescue Kanin. The trail leads them back to where Allie came from - New Covington.

And once they get there, Julie Kagawa unleashes an action-packed thrill ride that leaves you breathless and biting your nails and pulling your hair and crying a river. And answers some questions I had from the previous book.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...