Thursday, May 30, 2013

ARC Review: Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino (@AnneTenino)

Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma, #2)
From the blurb:

Paul's been called many things-graduate student, humanities tutor, jock-hater, even broke-but "forgiving" isn't one of them. When the new women's softball coach at Calapooya College specifically requests Paul to tutor his athletes, Paul's forced to put aside his strict "no athletes" policy for the sake of his paycheck.

Enter Trevor Gardiner, former Major League Baseball player and Paul's high school boyfriend. Yeah, that one-the guy who sacrificed Paul for the safety of his closet and his future career. But Trevor's come out and retired from baseball, and now he's looking for forgiveness and a second chance.

There's no earthly reason Paul should give him one, but he keeps letting the man state his case. And touch him. And take him sailing. The waters are far from smooth, though, and Paul says awful things to Trevor he isn't sure he means. Now Paul has to decide: apologize and forgive Trevor for everything, or chalk it up as revenge and move on.

My rating:

Love, Hypothetically is the 2nd installment in the TAG series, and is about Paul (whom you might remember from Fratboy and Toppy as Sebastian's grumpy, jock-hating roommate who didn't like Brad). We get insights as to why Paul was so mean to Brad, and what happened to him to make him the way he is.

Paul is a tutor and is called to help with the women's softball team, on request of their new coach. What Paul doesn't know as he enters the coach's office is that he'll be confronted with a huge piece of his past that he'd sooner forget.

Trevor Gardiner, former jock, baseball pro and now softball coach, has his reasons for requesting Paul to tutor the girls on his team. He hurt Paul, badly, and he knows it, and just wants a second chance.

One revenge BJ later, and after some flashbacks to high school, Paul is torn between still loving Trevor, but unable to trust him, and wanting to hurt him as badly as he's been hurt himself. There's a bit of hot boysecks, which furthered the plot. It's not gratuitous smut, though it is explicit. It fits into the overall story progression; it makes sense at the time it takes place.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ARC Review: Kingdom Come by Michelle Smith (@msmithbooks)

Kingdom Come (Kingdom Come, #1)From the blurb:

The world is coming to an end, and "Crazy Kerrigan" has a front-row seat.
Centuries ago, scrolls calling forth the four horsemen of the apocalypse were discovered, sealed until their rightful heirs were born. Now, those scrolls are being opened.
When her small town crumbles during her stay in an institution for troubled teens, eighteen-year-old Kerrigan Monroe is one of the few left standing. She and a handful of other survivors take cover as everything they've ever known is reduced to rubble. When the smooth voice behind a cryptic radio broadcast beckons her to a safe house, she and the others abandon their temporary haven, and embark on a cross-country journey toward refuge.
Upon discovering the identity of the man behind the voice, Kerrigan is smacked with the revelation that he's not the only heir to these scrolls. Now, she must make a choice: join this dark stranger and lead the New World by his side, or fight for what's left of humanity.

My rating:

A little uneven, with insta-love and an ending that was mostly apparent about half-way through, this was a good first effort for a new author.

I liked Kerrigan's voice. She's a likable heroine, labeled as crazy because of her dreams and her reactions to them, even though she's not. I also very much liked the world the author built, and the plot that goes with it.

As an apocalyptic novel, this book shines. The author's writing flows very well, though it's a little uneven in certain spots, especially when it pertains to the budding romance (which seemed to be a little one-sided for a while), and when it comes to Kerrigan's reactions to her brother, and the revelations of what really happened.

What impressed me the most was the subtle exploration of nature versus nurture as well as fate versus choices. As Kerrigan learns the truth and is faced with being a key to the End of the World, these two topics play a very important role in the plot. Also explored are nuances of loyalty and friendship, lies and truth, and how someone might choose personal safety over the greater good, or at least seem to make that choice.

ARC Review: Once A Brat by Kim Dare (@KimDareAuthor)

Once a Brat
From the blurb:

Experienced dominant Marcus has a stalker. On the plus side, the boy following him around his local leather club is gorgeous and a self-professed submissive. Unfortunately, he’s also inexperienced, bratty, and liable to drive Marcus insane with his incessant chatter and questions.

Bret Daniels fell head over heels with Marcus the moment he first saw him. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Marcus’s attention and prove his worth as a submissive. He might not be a traditional sub, but he knows he has a lot to offer a dom who can handle his quirks.

When Marcus gives in and agrees to do a scene with Bret, sparks fly. One scene quickly becomes another, and another. But will it be a case of once a brat, always a brat? Bret intends to prove to Marcus that—expectations and experiences aside—he deserves his master’s collar.

My rating:

This was my first exposure to Kim Dare, and it was a good one. I would have liked the book to be longer, and let the relationship go beyond insta-love, especially from Marcus' end. While I can see Bret falling immediately for the Dom he sees in the club, I wasn't convinced at Marcus falling for the bratty submissive after only one scene.

I enjoyed that the author accurately described certain aspects of BDSM, and I was happy to read that Marcus stopped the scene immediately when Bret safe-worded, however accidental that may have been. This is exactly the sort of thing I want to read in a BDSM-themed romance book. Keep it real, yo! Keep it sane, safe and consensual, and depict the Dom/sub relationship accurately, with all that entails. Well done, Ms. Dare!

Bret was simply adorable. While he might come across as a bit naive about what it means to be a submissive, this reader couldn't help but admire his honesty and straightforward behavior. There was no falsehood, no cowering, no pretension here. He was respectful (most of the time), but went after what he wanted with determination and charm.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Author Spotlight: Lance Manion - Homo sayswhaticus

Today we shine the spotlight on Lance Manion and his latest novel,

Homo sayswhaticus

From the blurb:

With this newest collection of irreverent short stories, Manion once again asks the reader to get off the bench and into the game as he dishes out laughs, offense and even a few poignant moments. There is no point to be made here. Only the hope that somewhere amid all the run-on sentences, unnecessary profanity and poor grammar, readers will come away with some unique thoughts of their own. Perfect reading for artists, commuters and people who spend an inordinate amount of time on the toilet.

An excerpt - from the story "Unconstructionalism" from Merciful Flush:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

ARC Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher @Chelsea_Pitcher

The S-WordFrom the blurb:

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.
But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl.
Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

My rating:

I've seen the not so favorable reviews, stating clunky dialogue, cliches and hard to read writing style, but to me the writing style actually reinforced the anger and pain contained in this book, the anger and pain the protagonist goes through. Yes, the author used cliches but to me, a cliche is based on real life. And the events described in the book - they do happen in real life. Isn't the purpose of a book also to open our eyes to the bad things? It can't all be flowers and chocolates all the time, right?

Chelsea Pitcher covers a few hot topics in her book, slut shaming only one of them, with much grace and completely unashamed.

This was a hard book to read, no doubt. The angry voice of the protagonist is heartbreaking in its pain, and the book's topics are all too based in reality.

Angie and Lizzie have been best friends for a very long time. Their friendship comes to an abrupt stop when Angie catches Lizzie in a compromising position with Angie's boyfriend Drake, in their hotel room on Prom night.

Immediately, the scarlet letter is put upon Lizzie, only it's not an A, but an S. For slut. The word appears on her locker repeatedly, the rumors float and she is shunned by everyone she knows. Tormented and bullied, Lizzie becomes a social outcast overnight, while Angie, angry and hurt, stands by and allows the bullying to happen, feeling secure and justified in her anger for Lizzie having gone after Drake.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Author Spotlight: Karen Wyle - Reach - a Twin-Bred novel

Today we shine the spotlight on Karen A. Wyle and her new book,

Reach: a Twin-Bred novel,

the 2nd installment in the Twin-Bred series. 

See my review of Twin-Bred (Book 1)

From the blurb (warning - includes spoiler for book 1):

Scientist Mara Cadell created the Twin-Bred -- pairs of fraternal twins, one human and one Tofa -- to bridge the profound and dangerous gap between the human colonists on Tofarn and the indigenous Tofa. Unexpectedly, it is the Tofa host mothers who now claim the capacity to bring peace between the two. The Twin-Bred themselves have been forced to abandon their mission and their planet, in the hope of finding a less hostile home. Only one pair remain behind, seeking to build new and separate lives with their own kind. But Mara and the Twin-Bred should know by now that plans provide little protection. New challenges are in store for all the Twin-Bred, and for those whose lives they touch.

An excerpt:

. . . So much for hoping Melly's day would be uneventful. Veda heard the shriek of fury and considered ignoring it. Maybe she should allow Melly to dismember whatever neighborhood brat had imperiled himself this time. Reluctantly she put down her glass of tea and went to the door. It was a lovely day, the sky her favorite shade of green, the breeze rippling the newly gold foliage and exposing leftover hints of purple. Really too nice a day for mayhem. She moved more quickly as she saw Melly astraddle a boy not very much larger than she, hammering away. The boy was protesting loudly but not yet wailing. Veda grabbed Melly's arms and pried them apart, then threw her weight back to hoist Melly off and away. Melly shrieked again, twisted and kicked. She was going to have to find another approach to these situations before Melly grew much heavier.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Tristis Manor by J.R. Wagner

Today we shine the spotlight on J.R. Wagner and his new novel, 

Tristis Manor,

a novella from The Never Chronicles.

From the blurb:

Margaret lives in a constant state of fear. Fear of her mother, whose constant state of anger and unwillingness to speak of Margaret's past have long since pushed Margaret away. Fear of disappointing her father should he ever discover the events of that day. Most of all, Margaret lives in fear of her abuser's return. Margaret turns to self-harm to cope with her pain and fear. Only when her self-inflicted injuries bring her near death does she realize she has the power and the support from an unlikely place to stand up to her fears and believe in herself again. Tristis Manor is a novella from The Never Chronicles, an epic fantasy series.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blog Tour: Christina Thompson - Chemical Attraction

Today we shine the spotlight on Christina Thompson and her debut novel, 

Chemical Attraction

From the blurb:

FBI Agent Joe Roberts wants that instant chemistry with a woman like the ones his sisters have with their husbands. After years of searching, he finds it with Dr. Madeline Pierce. The problem—she’s his contact on a dangerous case. When Madeline discovers an extensive operation of meth production and distribution within her medical research facility, Joe goes undercover as her boyfriend to determine the degree of company involvement. They determine the meth is financing a volatile nano-drug.

The small West Michigan farming town is in turmoil over horrific animal attacks. Someone is experimenting outside the laboratory. Are human test subjects next? With the help of Joe’s sister Eva, who works at the local clinic, and her law enforcement husband, Joe and Madeline hunt for this new bio-weapon. Will they give in to temptation? She thinks he’s playing her like the men from her past. He needs to convince her otherwise.

Sex, Drugs, and Nanotechnology—Throw in murder, and you have the ingredients for Chemical Attraction.

Scientists don’t fully understand how nano-drugs affect the body’s chemical and physiological processes. It’s fascinating and terrifying. What if these small particles invaded our body without our knowledge? What if someone could tap into our brain to control our actions? Who would have the courage to stop it?

An excerpt:

“Depending on how long this has been going on, we’re talking about millions if not billions of dollars.” Joe stood and paced at the foot of his bed in the Blue Room at the B & B. “Well, the proof would be with materials management, right?”

Leaning against his headboard, Madeline nodded. “They would have the master supply list and shipping manifests. Getting those would be a start. The supply list would show the bulk chemicals ordered and the manifest would show the delivery of those actual items.”

“What’s their security like?” he asked, impressed by her knowledge and instincts.

She reached for her iced tea with her left hand and used her right to wipe the condensed wetness off the tabletop. She took a mouthful, swallowed, and sighed. “They have cameras all over the place. The front desk has four screens that they flip through to any area, but security has a room with monitors for every camera.”

He continued to walk the six steps from one side of the room to the other. “They have cameras in materials management?”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Barry Wightman - Pepperland

Today we shine the spotlight on Barry Wightman and his new novel, 


available today

From the blurb:

What happens when one revolution dies and a new one begins?
Think the Ramones meet Jane Fonda meets Bill Gates—a love story—where one woman has all the power. She asks him—do you want to play your little rock 'n’ roll songs or change the world?  He says—both. Pepperland is a ‘70s rock and roll race through the heartland of America—a love letter to the power of new-fangled computers and the importance of a guitar pick. Pepperland is about missing information, missing people, missing guitars, paranoia, Q & A, brothers, revolution, Agents of the Federal Government, IBM, Hugh Hefner, a Dark Stranger, love, death and the search for it amidst the wreckage of recession-wracked, entropically rundown mid-seventies America. Sound familiar?

An excerpt [Source: JSK Communications Inc.]:

Side 1: Wouldn’t it be nice?

Track 1: May 4, 1970, 2:15 a.m.

“I’m not sure you’re up to this—I’m sorry, your name. What is it? Martin Alan Porter?” She doesn’t look up from the screen. I’m a distraction.

“Call me Pepper.”

One with the computer terminal, fingers flying on the keyboard—sprays of keystrokes, slowing, accelerating, waves synced with the riffs and rhythms in her mind— she’s fully connected, hard-wired to the vast, all-powerful mainframe computer system arrayed behind the glass wall in the university data center.

The young woman stops. She brushes strands of hair from her face, loops them behind an ear, picks up a pencil, taps the table.

“Pepper.” She raises an eyebrow. “You’re kidding.”

I’ve pulled up a folding chair, timidly located it across the wide table from her in one of the University of Michigan computer labs. I’m nervous about getting too close— she is intimidating. I’m here because she’s got something I want—the password, the completely unauthorized underground skeleton key to the computer lab kingdom representing complete freedom and unlimited systems access, available only to the elite, the elect.

It is a blow against the Empire.

How cool.

The problem?

First, she’s a girl, the only one in the smart boys club that is the computer science department. Second, she is stunningly gorgeous—this is no Dobie Gillis smart girl Zelda.1 She uses no makeup, which is fine by me—I ask you—what’s not to like about getting back to nature if you’re this smart and foxy? Third, she has a reputation as a monster programmer and again, she’s got that password—she hacked the password.

She asked about my name. I adopt a casual, off-hand story-telling manner, “It all started with my dad. See, he’s an old baseball …”

“You strike me as the type who’s all for tearing down walls and making things happen as long as it doesn’t interfere with your comfortable honky life. Or golf game.”


“Are you committed?”

“To what?”

She sighs. “Look, I can tell you’re pretty smart and you have been recommended. We’ve had those two classes together—”

It’s true. She was the one sitting aloof in the back of the classroom, not part of the scene, yet somehow shining with an aura of inaccessible brilliance. It’s evident she’s much smarter than me. One time, a visiting professor asked some bizarrely tough questions and on the fly she created an algorithm so new and unexpected, so clearly correct, he was forced to concede even a girl might have a shot at a career in computer science.

The fact that she—this woman—even acknowledges my existence is cause for jubilation.

But her question—her accusation really—is valid. Am I committed? And to what? She returns to the keyboard, playing the keys, intensely, artfully, lost in her programming, her coding. She’s probably skulking about in the online bowels of the administration mainframe checking my transcript, verifying my technical worthiness.

Later, she’ll tell me that mentioning her appearance and relating it in qualitative terms and referring to an early ’60s black and white TV comedy in which a very smart but goofy-looking female character is named Zelda, indicates that all is lost. From an olive drab rucksack festooned with embroidered rainbowy peace signs and Vietnam War Moratorium buttons, she removes a black notebook about the size of a clipboard—riffles through it, places it by her side. Reading upside down, I see that she’s consulting an elaborate handwritten table containing both alpha and numeric information. I cannot discern its purpose. With a slender finger, she follows the x and y axis locating multiple mysterious glyphs and sums.

I say nothing. I want the password.


About the author:

A rock ‘n’ roller at heart, Barry Wightman blends music, mayhem and high technology in his debut novel Pepperland due out this spring from Running Meter Press. Born in St. Louis, raised in Chicago and New England, Wightman, a business major at Principia College in southern Illinois, claims he should’ve been an English major. Living for many years in Chicago and Minneapolis, he raised a family with his wife Jill, and spent thirty years in the high tech industry, traveling the world, spending time in Silicon Valley, with countless trips to Asia, Australia, and much of the rest of the world. After all that, he earned an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. He currently serves as vice president of marketing at Forward Health Group, Inc. Wightman is Fiction Editor for Hunger Mountain, a literary journal based in Montpelier, Vermont. He is a talented voiceover professional and a Wisconsin Broadcasters Association award-winning essayist, whose work has been heard on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. Wightman is a reviewer and editor for the Washington Independent Review of Books. His music and book reviews have also appeared in various publications in Chicago, Milwaukee and Washington D.C. He is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle. This writer and lover of literature has lived in Elm Grove, Wisconsin since 2005. He is married with three grown children and plays guitar and keyboards in a rock ‘n’ roll band, The Outta State Plates. [Source: JSK Communications Inc.]

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog 

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blog Tour: Hearts of Darkness Club by Gary Reilly

Today we shine the spotlight on the late Gary Reilly and the latest release

from Running Meter Press,

Hearts of Darkness Club,

the 3rd installment of the Asphalt Warrior series,

available May 28, 2013.

From the blurb:

Denverite Brendan Murphy, or “Murph” as he’s known to the rest of the world.
That world consists mostly of fares and doormen and fellow hacks from the Rocky Mountain Taxicab Company. He lives alone in his crow’s nest apartment, fries a hamburger for every meal, does his dish, then channel surfs for reruns of Gilligan’s Island.
He’s a radical minimalist.
Murph has two main goals in life. First, to earn no more from driving his cab than it takes to keep his bohemian lifestyle afloat. Second, never and under any circumstance get involved in the lives of his fares. He’s not very good with the first issue and spectacularly bad with the second.
There are ten adventures total in The Asphalt Warrior Series. The Heart of Darkness Club is third in the series. Come prowl the mean streets of Denver with Murph and ponder the meaning of the world and all sorts of deep questions, such as:
“Why would anyone want to DO anything?”

An excerpt (from Chapter 1):

I pulled into the cabstand at the Fairmont Hotel just as a call came over the radio. There were five cabs ahead of me at the stand so I figured I had better take the call. If there had been four cabs I would have settled in with my Coke and Twinkie and paperback book, but five cabs meant that the waiting time for a fare to come out of the hotel would have been too long in terms of the “Work/Loaf Ratio” that I have spent fourteen years perfecting as a taxi driver on the mean streets of Denver. I won’t bore you with a long-winded explanation of the “W/LR” save to say that it is an algebraic formula of such complex numeric subtlety that it can be understood only by mathematicians and hobos.

“One twenty-seven,” I said into the microphone.

“Eight-fourteen Tremont,” the dispatcher said. “Party named Trowbridge. He’ll be waiting outside.”


I hung up the mike and pulled out of the cabstand and drove down the street. A couple of the taxis were Rocky Cab hacks. I knew what the drivers were thinking: Murph knows something. Whenever a cabbie jumps a bell from a cabstand, the other cabbies think he knows something. Vail trip, they think. A rich businessman going to Denver International Airport, they think. They think anybody fool enough to abandon the security of a cabstand must be hip to a jackpot. I like people to mistakenly assume good things about me. It enhances my rep.

It took one minute to get to the Tremont address. I saw the guy waiting outside the building, but he was no businessman. It’s easy to recognize businessmen. They wear suits and vote Republican. It’s true that this guy was wearing what could loosely be defined as a “suit,” if you think of Bozo the Clown as wearing a suit. Unmatched sports jacket, baggy pants, and dusty shoes, plus unkempt hair. That’s all you need to know. He was standing in the midst of what I took to be all of his worldly possessions. My heart sank.

Every so often I get one of those people. “Movers” as they are referred to by us cabbies, although they are not be confused with “movers and shakers.” Movers are people who think a taxicab is Mayflower Van Lines. They are people forced by tragic circumstances to flee their current residence and find someplace else to live. Their modus operandi is always the same. They give a little wave signaling that they called the cab, then they begin loading your trunk with their stuff. They disappear into their apartment building and come out with more stuff. There’s usually a shabby suitcase or two. My heart sinks when I realize I’ve got a mover on my hands because he or she usually has an apartment lined up not far away, so the fare comes to only three or four dollars. It’s worse than a supermarket run, because shoppers rarely have as much stuff as movers.

But my heart goes out to these people even as it’s sinking, which is scientifically feasible as I know from experience. Out and down, that’s where my heart went when I pulled up to the curb. I couldn’t tell if the guy was older than me. It’s always a shock to find myself in the presence of desperate people my own age. When I was a kid I always assumed that bums, losers, and grandparents had to be at least fifty years old.

“I have a few more things inside,” the guy said as he thrust his shabby suitcase into my trunk along with a cardboard box filled with the twisted remains of his life. I nodded. I knew the drill. There’s nothing you can say. You know you’re in for at least a half-hour of downtime, meaning you won’t be jumping any good bells for the next thirty minutes. It’s sort of like waiting for a bus to nowhere except you’re the driver.

I watched the guy disappear into the building. It was an old nineteenth-century Denver building, a five-story, red brick joint that had an appointment with the wrecking ball. The upper stories were apartments, and the ground-floor space had been a lot of things in its time, including an X-rated magazine store. I knew this because when I was a student at nearby UCD, I sometimes walked past this building on the way to a bar after class, but I never had the guts to step inside. (The word around the English department hinted that the store traded in 1950s Playboys, but nobody knew for sure.) [source: JSK Communications, Inc.]

About the author:

Gary Reilly was a writer. Simply stated, that was the essence of the man. Born in Arkansas City, Kansas he spent his early years in Kansas and Colorado in a large Irish-Catholic family–seven brothers and sisters. The family moved to Denver where Gary attended parochial high school, graduating in 1967. He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman. After discharge, Gary majored in English at Colorado State University and continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of Colorado. All along, his overarching ambition was to write fiction. And he did, prodigiously. His first published short story, The Biography Man, was included in the Pushcart Prize Award anthology in 1979. Later he turned to novels, several based on his army experiences. While he wrote both serious and genre fiction, his greatest invention was the character, Murph, a likable, bohemian Denver cab driver. Starting with The Asphalt Warrior, Gary cranked out eleven Murph novels. His dedication to writing did not include self promotion. Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focused on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. He wrote well over twenty novels before he thought he was ready make his work public. Unfortunately, he passed away in March, 2011, before he could realize that dream. Friends and family remember Gary as a fun-loving, generous soul who always had time for other writers, helping them shape their work, getting it ready for print. Now, through Running Meter Press and Big Earth Publishing in Boulder, Colorado, Gary Reilly’s fiction is finally coming to bookstores in Colorado and across the nation.

More information about the late Gary Reilly and the Asphalt Warrior series, and where to purchase his books can be found on the website here

Buy this book: Amazon 

As always, thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the booksellers listed. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blog Tour: Over The Edge by Suzanne Carroll

Today we shine the spotlight on Suzanne Carroll and her debut novel

From the blurb:

In six weeks Zoe Harper will marry Dan Costi in an over-the-top Sydney society wedding, complete with fire-eaters and belly dancers. But when she receives an unexpected gift from her future mother-in-law, Zoe realizes she’s making a huge mistake. In a blazing sidewalk argument, she breaks up with her fiancĂ©, and his mother—who has joined the fight via conference call.
Following the advice of friends and co-workers, along with some inspiration from late-night-television self-help guru Dr. Pam, Zoe sets out to find the life she thinks she should be living. Always a planner, she makes a list of goals: travel, career, tattoos, and no romantic entanglements. It’s all carefully laid out, until she meets Angus Creed.
Angus is supposed to lead the opening waltz at a charity ball in New York City. Only problem is the handsome billionaire construction magnate with the tabloid past can’t dance. Not one step.
Tainted by gossip and with a well-publicized failed engagement behind him, Angus has become a master at keeping an emotional distance. Until he meets Zoe.
What starts as dancing lessons, slowly becomes something more. Angus begins to let down his guard and open his heart, even when his past makes an unexpected and unwelcome return. As Zoe discovers the real man behind the headlines, she questions where her new choices are taking her. Her goals look good on paper, but are they what she really wants? And by the time she realizes where her heart lies, will it be too late?

We asked Suzanne about her favorite parts in the book...

I love the ending. The final scenes are probably my favourite in the book, but to share any of that would give too much away. So instead, I’ll go with the part where Angus and Zoe are in a meeting together. It’s a tense meeting where Zoe sees CEO Angus in action for the first time. Neither expected the other to be attending and this scene comes a few days after a very awkward and embarrassing first encounter between them. One they are both trying to forget. I like the tension in the scene. There’s a big problem with a contract, everyone is in quiet panic waiting for Angus’ response, and though Angus doesn’t speak to Zoe in the meeting, or even really acknowledge her, his actions in this little snippet say everything.


The atmosphere is thick enough to cut. Or draw on with my complimentary pen. Helen has stopped blinking. She may have stopped breathing. Stephan taps his pen over and over on the back of his hand. His gaze darts between Helen and Angus. My mouth is dry and I take the nearest glass but the water jug isn’t close enough. Without even trying I know my fingers will fall short. Angus is still focused on the contract, brow deeply furrowed as he reads, yet he reaches out and pushes the jug towards me.

About the author:

 Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and children.  By day she works in an office where she sneakily scribbles plot ideas on yellow sticky notes and hopes they don't accidentally end up on the departmental monthly report.

One such sticky note has turned into her first novel, Over the Edge. [Source: TWCS PH]

Over The Edge is available for purchase as of May 9th, 2013. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

ARC Review: If It Flies by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

If It Flies (Market Garden, #3)From the blurb:

Spencer is in a rut. Long hours at the law firm are sucking the life out of him, and he doesn’t have time or energy for a relationship. He’s lonely, horny, and itching for something new, so he tries the Market Garden, an exclusive—and expensive—brothel. Spencer isn’t in the door five minutes before a cocky rentboy makes his move.
Nick isn’t just any rentboy, though. He’s a Dom, he’s a sadist, and he’s everything Spencer didn’t know he was missing. One night turns into more, and before long, Spencer is one of Nick’s regular clients.
Both men think they’re just scratching each other’s backs: Spencer’s exploring a submissive, masochistic side he never knew he had, and Nick is getting off and getting paid. But as time goes on, it’s clear their strictly professional arrangement . . . isn’t, and if Nick has one hard limit, it’s that he doesn’t get romantically entangled with his johns. The problem is, while Nick doesn't want to be owned, Spencer’s no longer content with just renting.

My rating:

If it flies, drives or fornicates, it's cheaper to rent.

Thus begins an excellent read about Spencer, a deeply closeted London lawyer, who's been much too busy at work and hasn't had any time to play. On recommendation/pushing of his friend/colleague Percy, Spencer enters Market Garden and meets blonde, green-eyed Nick, clad in leather pants, one of the Dominants who work there. Through Nick's gentle and not so gentle commands, Spencer discovers a submissive and masochistic side of himself he had no idea existed. He's soon one of Nick's regular clients, meeting him every Friday evening for more of the above.

Spencer is awkward, uncomfortable and tongue-tied upon meeting Nick, but soon finds himself on his knees and obeying every command. Nick initially seems cold and unfeeling, much like a calculating prostitute, yet is a considerate and caring Dom, though he doesn't shy away from pushing Spencer to reach for more. I really liked that the consensual aspect of the BDSM relationship was explicitly shown here, that Nick made sure he never doled out more than Spencer could take, that Spencer had a way of stopping the play at any time, and that aftercare was always provided.

I enjoyed reading Spencer's struggles with his newfound desires and his growing feelings for Nick, far beyond the prostitute/john relationship. The authors infused the plot with much emotional writing, and it was very easy to understand where Spencer was coming from. And even though this book is told from Spencer's POV, in 3rd person limited, the character is sufficiently in tune with Nick's mask to hear and see some things Nick won't say.

ARC Review: White Trash by Alexandra Allred

White Trash

My rating:

This is one of the rare books where the blurb pretty much gives a good overview of what's inside, so I'm copying it here:

It all started when someone called an African American toddler "cute little niglet." White Trash was created in tribute to this unknown child. It has a hilarious cast and shocking storyline based on real people and true events in a small rural town in Texas. When Thia Franks returns to her home of Granby, Texas, the very place to which she'd vowed never to return, Granby's worst and best elements force the new single mother to face both her past and her destiny. At first, it seems that nothing has changed: Chester Kennedy's goats continue to run rampant through the town, Officer Tina Wolfe stands accused of racial profiling the growing Hispanic community, Thia's gun-wielding neighbor believes a squirrel has it in for her, and the town's local newspaper owner prints only what she believes the citizens should know. But when a young black man-an upstanding and popular citizen of the small, east-central Texas town-is brutally murdered, everything changes. Everyone is being watched. Everyone is being judged. White Trash is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud book that also serves as a bitter social commentary on American hypocrisies and prejudices. As Thia Franks comes to terms with the murder, and the small police department works the biggest whodunit in Granby history, a startling underworld of domestic abuse, gunrunning, drug use, illicit sex, and child molestation is revealed. While the murder is horrendous and some of the citizens of Granby are appalling, many stand up for what is right, and the total package is endearing. You'll want to read White Trash more than once in order to capture all of the tale's insights as it neatly summarizes the reality of every American small town peopled with neighbors you can't get away from, you can't stop talking about, and you may not want to leave.

Alexandra Allred delivers a realistic glimpse into small town Texas, with all the good and bad that entails. The writing is superb, with tongue firmly in cheek. There are some laugh out loud moments (especially the squirrel issues and OMG, fainting goats!!), but they are overshadowed by the social commentary hidden within this book. Prejudice and bigotry is alive and well in small southern towns, and Granby is no different. It's a reminder that we shouldn't judge people based on the color of their skin or their prominence in the community. It's a portrait of a well to-do young boy sharing a horrible secret with a boy from across the tracks that defines and shapes them both, about deceiving appearances and pretenses, about the chasm between rich and poor and the distrust between both sides of the tracks. Mayberry, this ain't.

Author Spotlight: The Prelude by Kasonndra Leigh

Today we shine the spotlight on KasSonndra Leigh and her latest novel, a New Adult Romance,

The Prelude,

book 1 in the Interludes series. 

From the blurb:

After finishing design school six months ago, Erin Angelo left her tragic past behind in the States and started a new life in Milan, Italy. Burying the grief, silencing her demons, and living a life without any real attachments has worked well for her so far. But when Erin secures her first real job as a budding clothing designer, her controlled world is shaken to its core by the mysteriously sexy director of the local symphony.
Alek Dostov is a man who knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s successful, hot, the son of a millionaire, and women all over the world flock to see one of his performances. For Alek, Erin represents the ultimate challenge: sexy, smart, and unaffected by his charms…or so she thinks. Just like Erin, Alek avoids attachments that leave him emotionally vulnerable. But unlike Erin, his pursuit of all things pleasurable is ruthless.

Knowing how wary they both are concerning any kind of committed relationship, Alek finds a way to pursue Erin, satisfying the intense attraction between them without sacrificing the freedom they both enjoy. Sometimes the deepest passion brings out the darkest emotions. And Erin finds herself completely unprepared for the forbidden world of the young maestro and his truths and even his secrets, as she struggles to deal with her own.
An excerpt:

“What have we here? The two of you look cozy,” a familiar female’s voice says, ripping through our bonding moment. Nadya. I sit back and give her a hard look. She’s wearing fur in July, the same thing Mother likes to do. And she looks ridiculous.

“Nadya. You look warm today,” I say, smiling.

“I am. These Milan nights can get a little chilly. Especially when a girl sits at home alone more often than not,” she replies.

“I’m sure a woman of your means can easily find male companionship,” I say with a smirking grin. She turns to Erin.

“Hi there. I’m Nadya, Alek’s ex-girlfriend.” She holds out her hand for Erin to shake.

“I’m Erin. And I’m not the new girlfriend.” Shaking her hand, Erin passes a quick glance in my direction.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

ARC Review: Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino

Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1)
From the blurb:

Brad is great at meeting other people's expectations. But his own? Not so much. Take the gay thing. Okay, so yeah. It took a morning meeting with a frat brother's hairy, naked ass for him to admit it, but he knows the truth about himself now. Let the gay life commence.
Unfortunately, it's not that easy. He hasn't quite determined how to come out to anyone, even Sebastian, the geeky-hot TA in his history class. Sebastian is everything Brad is not. Intellectual, suave, hairy. Out. And he doesn't seem interested in Brad, even when Brad makes a fool of himself trying to catch his notice.
Score one for foolery: Sebastian does more than notice Brad; he takes him to bed. Brad's been with plenty of girls, but with Sebastian, the sex is something else entirely-hot, mind-blowing, affirming, and a little domineering in a way that drives him wild. But when great sex turns into something more-dare he admit the "L" word?-Brad must face the crushing realization that Sebastian doesn't feel the same. Unless, of course, he does. After all, even grad students can be idiots about matters of the heart.

My rating:

This was lovely, and I really like Anne Tenino's writing style. It's humorous with a bit of sarcasm, and really works well for me.

Brad, a college football player frat boy, is newly gay, meaning he just now figured it out. He's been a bit of a manwhore until now, using women because he felt it was expected of him as the alpha dawg of his fraternity. When he finally embraces his sexuality, he sort of stumbles into a relationship with Sebastian, the hot TA in his history class. There was erotic boysecks to be had, interspersed with humor aplenty, from both Brad's and Sebastian's internal musings, and I laughed out loud quite a few times.

When they begin to explore a physical relationship, Brad is in hog heaven and Sebastian is quite fascinated too, yet neither has the emotional maturity to have a real conversation about their relationship. And yeah, the boysecks is hot yet still emotionally connecting.

There are the usual tropes, of course, but they still felt realistic enough to be rather enjoyable. Brad's family's reaction to his coming out was, while perhaps a bit on the too easy side, quite sweet to watch unfold. If only every homosexual kid had that kind of experience.

The scene where Brad comes out to his fraternity had me in stitches. Anne Tenino really shines when she infuses humor into the situations, and this is what pushed this book into four star territory. It was one of the best scenes in the entire book and it really rescued it for me at the end.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ARC Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)From the blurb:
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

My rating:

First off, my thanks to Harlequin Teen for approving the ARC request.

Secondly, I requested this book without having read Pushing the Limits, which initially seemed like a bad idea, but wasn't. Dare You To, while drawing on some of the background info from Pushing The Limits, stands completely on its own. It's not a sequel as much as it is a companion novel.

We first meet Ryan Stone, high school senior from Grovetown, while he's hanging out with his friends at Taco Bell, all of them participating in a new dare. It's their thing, I suppose, and Ryan takes the dare to get the phone number of the Skater girl that just walked into the restaurant. Ryan is the golden boy, the baseball star pitcher of his small town, poised to finish high school and then join the pros.

Enter Beth Risk. At seventeen, she's seen more hardship than anyone should at her age, constantly worrying about her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother, her mother's abusive boyfriend and the very real possibility that her mother could land in jail at any time, thus sending Beth off to foster care or worse.

Beth has no use for anyone like Ryan, and leaves him standing with his tongue hanging out. Shortly after, things go awry with mom and the abuser, and Beth finds herself in a holding cell in jail. To her surprise (and anger), it's her uncle Scott Risk, a retired baseball pro, who bails her out with the condition that she come live with him and his new wife Allison in the small town where Beth used to live. Given not much of a choice, Beth finds herself in Grovetown, starting at the local high school.

Release: Stare Me Down by Riley Murphy

Available today:

Stare Me Down by Riley Murphy

From the blurb:

A Dom stuck in anger management classes meets his match in his court appointed therapist. Their attraction is off the charts. Unfortunately though, the timing is bad for both of them. Or at least it is until he discovers his little vanilla doll isn't vanilla at all. Then it's a matter of timing be damned. He can't keep his hands off her. A definite problem as she has a past to deal with and he has a goal to seize. So when the present rears its ugly head they are both blindsided. Now they’re forced to stare each other down if they hope to have any chance of a future together.

Buy this book: Amazon |  

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the booksellers listed. 

ARC Review: Forever by Jacquelyn Frank

Forever (The World of Nightwalkers, #2)
From the blurb:

After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.
While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’ plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.

My rating:

This was very good. A little uneven at times, and Marissa got on my nerves a bit, but Ms. Frank can sure write the romance.

Forever picks up about three weeks after the point where Forbidden left off. Jackson Waverly is now sharing his body with Menes, an Egyptian pharaoh, and the Blending of their souls is nearly complete. Ram(ses) and Docia have gone to New Mexico to establish the new home of the Bodywalkers, while Marissa and Leo had their memories wiped. Neither remembers the events of Forbidden.

It is important to read these books in order, as Forever relies heavily on its predecessor, especially for the world-building. Menes has chosen Marissa as the vessel for his beloved queen Hatshepsut, though nobody has shared this information with Marissa yet. And to receive the queen's soul, Marissa has to agree to die - and she didn't get that memo either. Yet.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Unbeautifully Loved by Emma Grayson

Today we shine the spotlight on Emma Grayson and her debut novel

Unbeautifully Loved

From the blurb:

In three words I can sum up everything I learned about life. Regardless of the shit going on in your life, this fact still remains.
It. Goes. On.
Lexie Todd knew these 3 simple words. They were her mantra. So, after dealing with years of abuse at the hands of her boyfriend and the father of her son, she knows what needs to be done. With help from her best friend Mollie, they go on the run.
After months of being on the run they finally find the perfect town to settle in. Unable to trust and always having her guard up, the last thing Lexie wants is to get involved with Lukas Gunn.
Persistent, annoying, bossy, over protective and extremely hot, Detective Lukas Gunn.
After an incident leaves her vulnerable, Lukas knows there’s something haunting her. He’s determined to find out, wanting to protect her and make her his. But Lexie is determined also. Not wanting to give up her past, she pushes him away. Repeatedly.
But when history repeats itself, will Lexie finally be able to trust those around her to keep her safe? Will Lukas be able to save her? Or will Lexie succumb to only knowing what it’s like to be Unbeautifully Loved?

An excerpt (Prologue):

Meeting him changed my life. I never thought I’d meet someone who’d finally complete me like he did. Someone who finally made me feel whole and loved as much as he did. There’s always been a void in my heart, a void I thought I’d never have. I was in love, deeply in love, the kind of love that only comes around once in a life time, the kind you don’t want to live without and he didn’t even know how I felt. I’d waited too long and I didn’t know if I’d ever get to tell him.

The thought of him fizzled from my mind as my body shook from the cold under the thin sheet of a blanket that was wrapped around me. I was in shock, I could tell. I knew the signs. I winced as I moved; shooting pain licked my body in every direction. I knew a couple of my ribs along with my wrist were broken, and possibly something on my face, as pain swept over it and into my head. I raised my free arm up slowly, painfully, feeling my damp face as my hand found its way to the laceration on the side of my head, the source of only some of the pain. Unable to hold my arm up for much longer, it fell to the side throbbing and dangling off the edge of the bed. My body, it was beaten and bruised possibly more than ever before and I could feel myself slipping away, wanting nothing but to close my eyes and sleep, but it was the last thing I’d allow myself to do.

My mind was disoriented; I had no idea what day it was or how long I had been locked in this cold, dark place. Time was frozen, becoming nonexistent, and I was sure the days were just bleeding together. I thought about Finn and Mollie, hoping and praying they were safe because I didn’t know if I was going to see them again. The thought of that was unbearable. My eyes watered, nose burned and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

Monday, May 13, 2013

ARC Review: Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

Heart Like Mine
From the blurb:

When a young mother dies under mysterious circumstances, those she leaves behind begin looking for answers in the past—and find a long-buried secret they could have never imagined.
Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?
At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.

But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

My rating:

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of your own. This was a deeply moving story about a father, his children and his fiancee, dealing with the fallout of the mother's death and the secrets she's kept hidden most of her life.

Bring tissues.

Amy Hatvany paints a realistic picture of a broken family, a father's new life and the chasms between his children and his fiancee, that opens even wider when the mother dies under mysterious circumstances. The teenage daughter Ava, one of the narrators of this book, struggles with her mother's loss and questions of loyalty, as well as the fact that her mother has been leaning on her more than is healthy for a mother-daughter relationship. Grace, the fiancee and other narrator in this book, has to suddenly deal with two children she never expected to live with her and Victor permanently, the hostility from Ava, the sudden responsibilities that come with filling the mother role and her growing resentment for Victor who wants Grace to fill the mother role, but doesn't give her the benefit of standing with her when issues arise.

ARC Review: Too Stupid To Live by Anne Tenino

Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1)From the blurb:

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.
Until he meets Ian.
Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.
Until he meets Sam.

My rating:

This was too freaking cute! Loved the writing style and the story.

Sam is a cute, awkward, gangly, geeky guy looking to find the kind of guy his romance novels tell him to seek. He's never been in love, but oh, he wants to be. When he comes across Ian, a rugby-playing hot guy, he is left swooning. Ian isn't very likable in the beginning, especially when he takes advantage of Sam's happy nature upon meeting him at a party thrown by Sam's friend Nik and Nik's BF Jurgen, who's Ian's cousin.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts

Today we shine the spotlight on Deborah Coonts and her latest novel 

Lucky Bastard.

From the blurb:

Lucky O’Toole, the newly promoted vice president of Customer Relations for the Babylon, Las Vegas’s primo Strip property, has never met a problem she couldn’t handle. But when a young woman is found dead, sprawled across the hood of a new, bright red Ferrari California in the Babylon’s on-site dealership, a Jimmy Choo stiletto stuck in her carotid, Lucky’s skills are maxed out. Of course her life is already on overload. Her mother, Mona, is pregnant, hormonal, and bored — a triple threat. A song that Teddie, Lucky’s former lover, wrote for her is getting national airplay as he hits the talk shows, pleading for her forgiveness.

Lucky is less than amused by the high-powered “infotainment” spotlight on her personal life. She’s having enough trouble fending off Chef Jean-Charles Bouclet, the Babylon’s tasty new dish. All of this and The Smack-Down Poker tournament, the second-largest poker tournament in the world, is holding its final round at the Babylon. Hookers, thieves, players, cheaters, media, and hangers-on descend, looking to win or to score. When one of the players turns up dead, Lucky starts to make connections between the two murders, putting her in the crosshairs of the killer. After a revelation by someone close to her sends her world reeling even further, Lucky struggles to keep her life in balance, and a murderer from killing again as bodies pile up. Then, just when she’s losing control… life deals another major complication to her personal life… and it’s not going to be pretty. Lucky struggles to keep her life in balance, and a murderer from killing again as bodies pile up.

About the author:

Deborah Coonts' mother tells her she was born a very long time ago, but Deb isn't so sure -- her mother can't be trusted. These are the things she does know: She has raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer.
She's lived in every time zone in the U.S. - the most memorable being the time she now spends in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can't get into too much trouble. Silly people. The only constant in her life (besides her family, who deserve hazardous duty pay for sticking with her) has been change (her mother is still waiting for her to grow up). Silly woman.
Deborah has spent more time in school than any sane person should, acquiring along the way a bachelor's and master's degree in business, a law degree and a master's of laws in taxation (can you say 'geek'?). She has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine and survived a teenager.

Available May 14th, 2013 from Forge Books

An except from chapter one is available on B&N and Amazon via the buylinks. 

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter 

As always, thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ARC Review: Never A Hero by Marie Sexton

Never a Hero (Tucker Springs, #5)
From the blurb:

Everyone deserves a hero.
Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.
Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons—and insists that they play together in a recital—Owen can’t find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.

Owen knows he’s falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother’s scorn and Nick’s secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it’s time to be one—for himself and for Nick.

My rating:

I loved this. Adored this. Want you to read this!!! I'm so happy that Nick got his own book!

Marie Sexton has penned a beautiful, albeit too short tale of two damaged souls who find love and redemption with each other, all while covering some difficult subjects with respect, responsibility and grace.

Both MCs were fully fleshed out, with enough background history to make them realistic in their actions and reactions. I understood Owen's almost frantic fear of being labeled a freak, which kept him away from other people and living a hermetic life. I understood Nick's panic at his attraction to Owen, thinking that his illness would keep him from loving and being loved by another man.

The author didn't immediately disclose Nick's secret, which introduced a bit of mystery into the plot and kept this reader wondering why he would distance himself from Owen when he was so clearly attracted to him.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ARC Review: Shadow Bound by Angel Lawson

Shadow Bound (Wraith #2)From the blurb:

After recovering from a horrific fire that took the lives of two people and released her best friend, Evan, to pass from this world to the next, Jane Watts finally has a chance to live a normal life.
If you consider seeing and guiding ghosts normal.
It’s summer and Jane and her friend, Ava, spend the hot, humid days working and hanging at the pool while Jane’s boyfriend, Connor, attends summer school. With the ghosts under control, things are going well until a friend from Connor’s past reconnects with him. Hours later she kills herself. Charlotte’s suicide throws Connor into a tailspin and her ghost latches on to Jane because, as they learned from Evan, ghosts only linger if they need something.
Unfortunately, Charlotte doesn’t need something. She wants something.
In Shadow Bound, Jane struggles with the fact that not every spirit is welcome and not all have good intentions. With Ava’s help, Jane stumbles into a decades-old murder, what her gift really means and how to save Connor from forces intent on destroying them all.

My rating:

Shadow Bound, the 2nd book in the Wraith series, opens up almost immediately where the 1st book ends. And almost immediately, the reader gets a sense of something sinister that's about to happen.

And then it does. As the story unfolds, Jane and Connor face even bigger obstacles that test their relationship and bring them both close to their own demise. Shadow Bound is an action-packed thrill ride, a creepy ghost story and an exquisite young adult novel, all at the same time.

Angel brings her special brand of magic to this 2nd installment, just like she did in the first one.

The characters are well-fleshed out and show additional growth in this installment, especially Jane. She struggles with the understanding that not all ghosts mean her well, or are simply looking for help to cross over, but that some can be sinister and wish her harm.

The supporting cast is also back, but we get additional characters (and ghosts) that play a huge role in the plot as well.

The villains are both easily spotted and come at you as a surprise. Help comes from unexpected places, and old secrets are revealed.

As I said, it's definitely a thrill ride. The book stands on its own, just like the first one did, but it does end with a bit of a cliffhanger, albeit one that made sense for both Jane and Connor.

Angel's writing is as I've come to expect - matching the tone of the novel, she seems to have chosen her words carefully and fully brings across the teenage and supernatural struggles both Jane and Connor face once again.

I can hardly wait for the next one.

These books should be read in order, so start with Wraith, then read this one.

My review of Wraith can be found here.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not promised in return. Other than the free book, I was not compensated for my time or my opinion.

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter 

Buy this book: Amazon 

As always, thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy to the reader and do not constitute an endorsement or affiliation with the bookseller(s) listed. 

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