“Dear Tabitha” (Forever Family #2) by Trudy Stiles – My Review

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Title: “Dear Tabitha” (Forever Family #2)

Author: Trudy Stiles

Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance

Release Date: 28th March, 2014

Synopsis

This book is not suitable for young readers. It is intended for mature adults only (18+). It contains strong language, adult/sexual situations and some violence.

Dear Tabitha is BOOK TWO in the Forever Family Series. Dear Emily should be read FIRST as this is NOT a standalone book.

You know me. You know who I am. What I am.

Damaged. Confused. Alone.

You feel sorry for me. You pity me.

You know what I’ve done. What I’ve given up. Who I’ve given up.

You try to understand what I’ve been through and how I can go on with my life. But you can’t possibly understand.

I’ve lost too much. Sacrificed too much. Given up everything so that I can find myself.

Well, I’m done.

I’m done walking away from everything that matters.

It’s time for me to heal.

It’s MY TURN to earn…

Redemption.
Love.
Family.

“Dear Tabitha” is the second book in the “Forever Family” series. This is book 2 of 2 and concludes the story that began in “Dear Emily”. It is NOT a standalone story and is meant to be read after Dear Emily.

“Dear Emily” is the first book and can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords.

Other books in this series will be companion/standalone and will explore the lives of various characters introduced throughout these books.

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My Review

Complimentary copy given by the author in exchange for an honest review

Ever since reading the epilogue in “Dear Emily”, the first book in the Forever Family Series, I have been very excited about reading Tabitha’s story. I remember thinking to myself that her relationship with Alex, her ex-boyfriend, would just have to find some sort of closure, but, most of all, I was looking forward to seeing her become a strong, independent woman, unafraid of her past and letting her heart fly again.

I cannot start my review without telling you that you cannot, under any circumstances, read this book without having read “Dear Emily” first. Like so many readers, I prefer reading a series from the beginning in order to not miss out on anything, but it is more than that: if you do not read the first book, you will fail to understand Tabitha completely, including the choices she makes. And that would be a crying shame, in my opinion.

In many ways, Tabitha is a much stronger person since we first met her two years ago when she gave Emily up for adoption. She has no doubt in her mind that this decision was the right one, and, thankfully, she remains close to the adoptive parents, Carly and Kyle. But that does not mean that she does not miss Emily every day – and her other daughter, Sara, who she was forced to give up when she was only 18 years old. Tabitha still works at the bookshop where she met the love of her life, Alex, who she also misses every day – and he walks back into her life now, wanting answers to her betrayal.

Now, since Alex knows nothing about Emily, Tabitha is distraught when he shows up on her doorstep. She fears his reaction, at the same knowing that she cannot keep such a big thing from him, however he may react, and even though the time of her telling him the truth is forced upon her, she tells him everything. Narurally, Alex feels betrayed by Tabitha, again, and his old hurt also springs to the surface. After a while, though, Alex comes to the same conclusion that Tabitha did about Emily: it was the right thing to do, given her circumstances at the time, but can her forgive her for not trying harder to contact him? Well, you will have to read the book in order to find out.

First of all, I have to say that I admire Tabitha so much: giving up your child must be the hardest and most heartbreaking decision you ever will have to make even though it is the right one. And what I love about this author is the fact that she, through Tabitha, makes her readers come to understand that such a decision can prey on your mind forever. And that life, in all its imperfections, is a beautiful thing and that, sometimes, you can find happiness even when you least expect it.

Like I stated earlier, Tabitha is stronger now, and it really shines through: she no longer shies away from confrontations – even though she wants to – and she loves her job and her friends; in all, her life is good now. And I must admit that I completely understand her reaction when Alex returns from touring with his band. Seeing him again, remembering how they were together, thus, in a way, relapsing to the weak and scared person she used to be when she was with Alex for short moments of time (at least in the beginning) feel incredibly real to me.

Getting Alex’ story was a real joy to me. His thoughts and feelings about Tabitha are rather conflicted, which is only natural, but experiencing how this man does not shy away from his feelings, how he longs to get Tabitha back made my romantic heart almost miss a beat from time to time. Alex has a beautiful soul, plain and simple, despite his horrible upbringing, and he has beat the odds, becoming a successful musician, doing what he loves.

Miss Stiles have a wonderful way with words, and I find it difficult to fully express how much I love this book because I am no writer myself. Every single page moved me, sometimes to laughter, sometimes to tears. My heart was hurting so much for both Tabitha and Alex, and my romantic soul could not stop hoping and praying that, despite Tabitha’s silence about Emily, they would somehow find their way back to each other again. Their path to happiness is not an easy one, but when is it ever when dealing with matters of the heart? Furthermore, I loved how the chapters changed between the past and present, for both Tabitha and Alex, and it truly made me connect with them as I got to know their thoughts.

I will finish my review now as I fear I will reveal too much of the story should I continue – there are many surprises and I really do not want to ruin them for you. But I will leave you with this: if you, like me, love books filled with emotions – both good and bad – which have a believable story line, great secondary characters, and if you also love it when you start crying while reading: this is the book for you! You will not regret it. I give “Dear Tabitha” my highest rating, firmly putting the book on My Favorite Books shelf, and I cannot wait to see what the author has in mind for us in the next installment of the Forever Family series.

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PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Interestested in reading “Dear Emily”, the first book in The Forever Family Series?

Click on the cover image below and you will get to my review.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trudy Stiles is a New Adult author, mom to two beautiful children, and married to the love of her life. She is the author of the Forever Family series including “Dear Emily” and “Dear Tabitha”. There will be many more stories from this series and you never know who may have a standalone or novella written for them. Stay tuned!

Trudy is a music junkie and you’ll know that she’s writing when you see her plugged into her laptop with her earbuds in. Her playlist is unique and is a must for her writing sprints.

When she’s not writing, she’s carting her children to their various activities while avoiding any kind of laundry or housework. She also loves to run along the boardwalk of the beautiful New Jersey shore.

She’s always been an avid reader and frequently escapes into the fictional worlds of the many characters that she has come to love. Well, now there are some fictional characters in her head dying to get out!

This first story is called “Dear Emily” and was released in December 2013. “Dear Tabitha” will be released in March 2014. The Forever Family series will continue with several companion/stand alone novels.

SOCIAL LINKS 

Email: authortrudystiles@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortrudystiles

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/trudy_stiles

Twitter: @trudystiles

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Blog Tour: “Fighting To Forget” (Fighting Series #3) by J. B. Salsbusy – My Review

 

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Synopsis

Every fighter is drawn to the violence, the release that a perfect hit can bring.

But very few are drawn to the pain.

Rex Carter lives behind a wall of indifference. The demons from his childhood act as an anesthetic, keeping him distant from emotional connections. Only the ache from a knock to the jaw, the sting of a tattoo needle, or the heat from a piercing can jolt him back from the numbness. The fiery pain is all he can feel, and nothing compares to the burn.

Or so he thought.

Working in a Las Vegas bar isn’t Georgia McIntyre’s dream. But she hopes it’ll be an end to the nightmare.

She’s watched him, followed him and kept tabs, all in preparation for this moment: to make amends and share the secret she’s been carrying since she was a kid. But she didn’t count on the feelings that seeing him again would stir up, the vacant look in his stormy-blue eyes, and his perfect body now mutilated by ink and metal.

And she knows why. She’s lived his pain every single day, since the day he left.

Changed by time, Rex doesn’t remember the girl from his past. If only she could do the same.

Will she get the absolution she’s spent her life seeking?

Or will he continue Fighting to Forget?

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

Complimentary copy given by the author in exchange for an honest review

It is no secret that I love books about MMA fighters – these men, physically strong, almost invincible, all show their vulnerabilities when a good woman comes into their life. We are shown that they are just like the rest of us: scared of being hurt emotionally, showing weakness and, most of all, scared of being accepted for who they really are.

Ever since meeting Rex in the first book in The Fighting Series, I feel that he has been the odd man out – the guy who we know practically nothing about, the guy who always wears a mask. It should come as no surprise, then, that I have been extremely anxious to get his story.

And what a story it is…

Rex does not remember anything from his past from the moment when he woke up in a hospital bed as a ten-year-old boy and he was told that he had tried to commit suicide. And he does not actually believe that that is what he attempted to do. However, even now, aged 25, he feels wrong, sick and twisted. He has been in therapy since he was seventeen and although he appreciates the help his counsellor, Darren, has tried to provide, he still feels that he is lost somehow. Part of this is due to his dreams – or, rather, nightmares – he has most nights.

If you have read the other books in the series, you know that apart from being a MMA fighter, Rex is the lead singer in a band called Atraxia. He plays at a specific bar every week, and, one night, he meets Mac, one of the waitresses working there. Once they start talking, he does know who she is, and he finds it strange that he has never noticed her until now.

Mac has secrets of her own, and most of them them revolve around Rex: she knew him when they were children and when her name was Gia. Should she approach him, tell him what she knows? She is fully aware of the fact that if she does, she could destroy Rex and their budding romance…she could lose him again.

This book deals with some incredibly difficult subject matters: child abuse and molestation, and although I find books dealing with these themes incredibly difficult to read, I do not shy away from them. The fact of the matter is that these horrific and tragic atrocities happen all over the world, and it does not help burying your head in the sand, pretending that they do not.

And I have to say that although I felt some bile rising in my throat on more than one occasion while reading this book, I never – not once – felt that I could not finish it. This author handles the subject with the greatest of care, and you can feel how much both Rex and Mac/Gia are hurting because of the things they were subjected to. Furthermore, you can absolutely feel how much Miss Salsbury loves these characters and how much she wants them to succeed in their lives.

Rex and his issues – being kind of OCD, showering many times throughout the day, etc. – are described in a way that is very realistic. He longs for love but due to the lack of memories about his past life, he does not believe that he can find and hold it. He is afraid of uncovering his past fully, and that part of his personality also felt real to me. Rex is sweet, caring, sensitive, and you just want to wrap your arms around him and hoild him close.

As for Gia: I admire her so much! She is incredibly strong, yet vulnerable, and also very charming and feisty. She, too, fears rejection because of her past, but she is in a better place mentally than Rex when we first meet her. I love her independence, her willingness to give Rex all that he needs and how protective she is of him as well. She is, plain and simple, the perfect partner for Rex.

One of the things I love about reading a certain book is when I get surprised. And this book has some twists and turns I did not anticipate at all. I love it! I found myself completely immersed in unraveling Rex’ past, learning everything I could about him as the story progressed. And my heart broke for Gia more than once…Yes, she is a very strong woman, but only while having a purpose: avenging Rex and herself for the hand life dealt them when they were children. Once that purpose is gone, she is left vulnerable, unsure and scared.

It would be a great disservice to you, my readers, if I reveal too much of the story line, because this, to me, truly is a book you simply have to lose yourselves in. To me, the story of Rex & Gia centers around “choices”: the choices that were taken from them when they were children, and the choices that they have to make years later when they are adults. But it is also a story about hope: hope that you can beat the odds, that you can lead a perfectly normal and happy life despite of what you were subjected to when you were young. And that, to me, is so uplifting and so life-affirming that I cannot help but smile when I think about it.

I have been a huge fan of Miss Salsbury’s ever since her first novel, and I honestly think that she becomes better and better with each story that she chooses to tell us. Her writing is honest, deeply emotional and so very real. And while the nature of the subject matters is so tragic, and slightly darker than the author’s previous books, please do not think that this is not a romance. Because it most certainly is. I was rooting for Rex and Gia to find the strength and courage to unravel their different pasts, and although my heart broke while uncovering their secrets and thoughts, I also found myself sighing happily from time to time.

I know that I have left out many details in my review, and it is quite on purpose. I want you to let go of your apprehension regarding the subject matters and take a chance if you feel unsure about reading this book. The love story of Rex & Gia is one of the most beautiful I have ever read, and I now find myself adding “Fighting To Forget”  to My Favourite Books shelf where the previous two books in The Fighting Series already have a spot of their own. Miss Salsbury: thank you for your bravery, for your honesty, for your compassion…in short: thank you for giving us Rex & Gia’s story. It is very inspiring, beautiful and romantic. I truly love it and I know that I will read it many times in the years to come.

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Buy on Amazon | B&N Coming Soon

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Author Bio

JBProfilepicJB Salsbury, USA Today Best Selling author of the Fighting series, lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two kids. She spends the majority of her day as a domestic engineer. But while she works through her daily chores, a world of battling alphas, budding romance, and impossible obstacles claws away at her subconscious, begging to be released to the page.

Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. With her journalistic background, writing has always been at the forefront, and her love of romance prompted her to sink her free time into novel writing.

Fighting for Flight, Fighting to Forgive, and Fighting to Forget are the first three novels in the MMA romance series. Fighting the Fall is due to be released in October 2014.

For more information on the series or just to say hello, visit JB on her website, Facebook, or Goodreads page.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

 

Release Day Launch: “Love, In English” by Karina Halle – Synopsis, Excerpt & Purchase Links

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Title: Love, In English

Author: Karina Halle

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 20, 2014

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Synopsis

He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.

***


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

 

 

Enjoy the excerpt!

 

Claudia shrugged and pulled down at her yellow tee. “Not my problem. Eduardo is nice but Ricardo is really nice.”

“How did it happen?” I asked, kinda wanting the sordid details.

She was coy. “The way it usually happens.”

“Did you make the first move?”

Another shrug. “Why not?”

I swear, a shrug and a “why not?” were the Spaniards’ go-to answer for everything.

“Well, then I guess it seems safe—and a little boring now—to tell you that I have a crush on someone.”

Her brows quirked up. “Other than Mateo?”

“What?”

“You are sleeping with Mateo, no?”

“WHAT?!”

“No?”

“No!” I exclaimed, appalled. “Why does everyone keep thinking that?”

“Because you are always together,” she said simply. She took a sip of wine. “The attraction is very obvious. So, I figured you must be sleeping together.”

“He’s married!”

“Yes, but you are not.”

I shook my head adamantly. “It’s wrong. I don’t want to be the other woman. I’ve seen my dad go for the other woman, and I can’t put Mateo’s daughter through that,” I said. “Or his wife,” I quickly added.

“That doesn’t mean that you can’t have feelings for anyone else.”

“Yes, it does mean that.”

“Maybe you are meant to be together.”

“We’re not! There isn’t even a together. We’re just friends. I haven’t done anything about it, and so far my feelings are totally one-sided.”

Claudia got up off the couch and brought a pack of cigarettes out of her front jean pocket. “If you think it is on the one side, you have not seen the way he looks at you.”

She walked over to her small patio table and pulled out a chair. I got up and stormed after her, my nerves dancing excitedly.

“What do you mean, the way he looks at me?” I asked, lowering my voice in case there were people around listening. I felt like bouncing off the walls.

She slid the ashtray toward her as I sat down. “You do not see it. But I do. I think everyone does. He looks at you like…like you’re his favorite food.”

“Favorite food?”

She lit her cigarette. “Yes. You’re like his favorite food in the whole world. He wants to have you, eat you, devour you. He thinks about you all the time, craves you. But he cannot have you for one reason or another. Perhaps you upset his stomach. Maybe he is on a diet, yes? All he wants is a taste, but he cannot even have that. That is how he looks at you.”

I sat there, stunned, as some of her smoke blew in my face. That’s how Mateo looked at me? Like he wanted to eat me? I was pretty sure that’s how I looked at him. Just last night I was contemplating nibbling on his earlobes.

“And yes,” she said, leaning closer to me, a small smile on her lips, “that is also how you look at him.” Great, a mind reader. “But you are more subtle about it. You try not to let everyone know. But, we know.”

“There is nothing to know,” I reminded her, poking the table with my finger for emphasis. “We are not sleeping together. He is married. I have a crush. That is it. The end of the story.”

“A crush?” she questioned. “Vera, I think you’re in love with him.”

No fucking way. Not love. That did not happen with me, not ever and not now.

“You can’t fall in love in a week,” I told her heatedly.

“You can fall in love in a second,” she said with a snap of her fingers. “The heart has no regard for time.”

With that sobering thought, Claudia told me about her ex-boyfriend and how they fell in love at first sight then took the conversation back to Ricardo and their exploits. I envied her so badly right then and there. She could fawn over Ricardo, kiss him, fuck him, and no one would ever bat an eye. It was okay for them to be together. It wasn’t forbidden.

I gulped the rest of the wine and left her apartment, heading back to reception to meet Cristina for my next one-on-one, my mind and heart and hormones all over the place. Lo and behold, Mateo was walking up the path toward me.

He was on the phone, smiling.

His shirt was off and slung over his shoulder, exposing his bare chest, abs, and arms.

Holy fuck.

For a moment, I was sure that time had stopped. Or maybe ever single nerve, cell, vein, bone, muscle in my body just slowed as I took him all in.

From his thick-veined forearms to his sculpted shoulders and broad chest peppered with neatly-trimmed chest hair, to his six-pack abs, he had, by far, the best body I’d ever seen on a man. He kept himself in fine-ass shape, looking more like a young athlete than anything else. He and David Beckham had more in common than I thought, although David’s skin tone wasn’t as mesmerizing. Mateo’s color was amazing, just beautiful, this dark, golden bronze that covered him everywhere. I wanted so badly to just touch him, to lick the sheen of sweat off his skin. I bet he tasted like victory.

And to think this was the man that Claudia said wanted to taste me.

I really, really wanted to believe her.

Meanwhile, I was just standing there like I was melting into a puddle of myself. I clamped my mouth shut as he walked past and I heard him say into the phone, “No, mi tesorito, it was easy, I didn’t injure myself.” He was beaming, talking about the game, to his wife. To his tesorito. And he called their relationship complicated? This was complicated.

He winked at me in acknowledgement, his smile becoming broader. I tried to smile back but it wouldn’t come. I just stared at him, feeling stupid, foolish, and strangely rejected. In a perfect world I may have been his favorite food, but it still wasn’t what he got served every day. I turned around and walked down the hill, my heart feeling like a pincushion.

“Vera!” I heard him call out from behind. I stopped and nervously glanced over my shoulder. He was holding the phone’s receiver to his chest, grinning at me. “I need to ask you your question.”

“What?” I asked, hoping it was quick.

“Who is your favorite Spaniard here?”

Seriously?

And yet I couldn’t lie to him.

“You,” I said, more to myself than to him. Then I turned around and walked away as quickly as I could.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

About the Author

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With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term “Hybrid Author.” Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she’s a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA…whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.

SOCIAL LINKS

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Website 

Twitter

 

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Release Day Launch: “Night After Night” (Seductive Nights #1) by Lauren Blakely – Synopsis & Giveaway

Hello, my lovelies!

Happy Easter!

I am thrilled that Lauren Blakely’s “Night After Night” is available today! Or, to be perfectly honest, the book released a few days ago, but the official release date is today.

 “Night After Night” is the first full-length novel from her first Erotic Romance Series, The Seductive Nights Series. The prequel novella, “First Night”, is included in “Night After Night”!

Grab your copy today and don’t forget to enter to win a signed paperback copy of “Night After Night”!

Enjoy!

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Synopsis

**Warning: Spare panties are needed for reading this book…you’re welcome.***
“You are being rewarded for turning me on. But we’re doing it my way. You teased the hell out of me, and now I want to watch you squirm. Crawl up on my bed and get on your hands and knees.”

Their world was sex, love, and lies.
He intoxicated her. Commanded. Consumed.
With a dirty mind and a mouth to match, Clay Nichols is everything Julia never knew she wanted and exactly what she cannot have. He walked into her life one night and unlocked pleasure in her that she never knew was possible. Possessing her body, captivating her every thought. Which makes him way too dangerous for Julia to risk her heart, given that she has a price tag on her head. She ran after one mind-blowing week with him, but now he’s back, and determined to make her his own.
No matter the cost.
She was a sexy drug to him. Fiery, unforgettable, and never enough, Julia is an enigma, and Clay isn’t willing to let her go without a fight. But she’s got dark secrets of her own that threaten to destroy any chance of happiness. She’s a wanted woman – the stakes are high, her every move is watched, and yet the lure between them can’t be denied. Can two people burned by love trust again when desire and passion are met by danger at every turn?

A sensual, emotionally-charged erotic romance from the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Blakely…

Please note: This book is intended for 18+ due to dirty talk, light bondage, and lots of sexy scenes. This ebook edition also includes the prequel novella First Night, which precedes Night After Night.

 

Night After Night Teaser

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Amazon AUS

Amazon CA
  iBooks
Barnes & Noble

 

After This Night

Also, the sequel in The Seductive Nights Series, “After This Night”, is up for pre-order now! Here are the links!

Amazon

iTunes

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LaurenBlakely

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He’s Mine, Playing With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

SOCIAL LINKS

Website

Blog

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GOOD LUCK!

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Cover Reveal: “Bang” (Black Lotus #1) by E. K. Blair – Synopsis & Excerpt

 

We are excited to present the cover for book #1 in E.K. Blair’s (author of the Fading Series) new Black Lotus Series, BANG! Filled with suspense, sexiness and romance, this is sure to take us on an indescribable thrill.

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SERIES: The Black Lotus Series (book #1)

GENRE: Psychosexual Suspense / Romance

RELEASE DATE: May 22nd, 2014

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21459365-bang

brick synopsisThey say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence.

But I’m not innocent.

I haven’t been for a very long time.

My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice.
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs.
Until now.
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**

brick excerpt

In an instant, he’s crouched down before me, hands spreading me open wider before dipping his tongue inside me. I continue massaging myself as he laps me up like I’m the only one who can quench his thirst. He sickens me, and as soon as I feel the swirl of hate manifest, I turn every part of me off and simply go through the movements I know he likes. I’m a well-oiled machine at this point, flawless in my performance.

He has no idea that I’m the poison in his bones, making my home in his soul. I’ve crept under his skin, and he never suspected a thing other than everything I’ve wanted him to, but he’s made my life a hell, and payback is a wicked bitch that comes in the form of me. I’m the devil seeped within the cracks of him. What he doesn’t know, is that it’s because of him that I am what I am, and he’s fallen into the cobwebs of my lies like a fool. I guess I should love him for that, because when he least suspects it, he’s going to give me everything I’ve been seeking—vengeance.

Blog Tour: “Deep Down” (The OGs #1) by Elle Aycart – My Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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Hello, everyone!

If you are looking for a story that will leave you breathless due to all the emotions the characters go through, “Deep Down” by Elle Aycart is the right book for you. It has everything I look for in a romance, and I just wish that the book was available in paperback as I would love nothing more than to add it to my book shelf at home.

Besides my review, you will find a great giveaway, so be sure to enter at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

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Title: Deep Down

Author: Elle Aycart

Genre: Adult contemporary/erotic romance

Release Date: 11th February, 2014

Synopsis:

Mike Haddican is a proud small-town gym owner, a renowned karate instructor, and all-around good guy. He’s never needed much to be happy: his family, his friends, his girl. Especially his girl. But when Kyra left him seven years ago to chase her dreams, she all but destroyed him. Contemporary dancer Kyra Brims made it big, but it cost her dearly. With her life and career in shambles, she doesn’t need a do-over, she needs a friggin’ miracle. Injured, broke, and out of options after going through hell, she’s come back to Alden, the town she swore she’d never return to and home of Mike Haddican, the man who ripped her soul to pieces, to lick her wounds and recover. Forgetting and letting go proved impossible when they were worlds apart; now that they’re stuck together they don’t stand a chance, especially with Mike’s grandma and her partners in crime plotting, meddling and refusing to give up on them. As the passion that never died burns out of control, so do old hurts and unresolved issues. Both have reasons to be angry and feel betrayed, but now that they’re older, are they wise enough to make things work?

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 My Review

Complimentary copy given by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Second-chance love stories…*happy sigh* Yes, I admit it, I love this theme in romance novels, but only if written well, of course. And, truth be told, only if I can feel that the characters have evolved since their break-up, learning from their mistakes, and, most importantly, willing to truly let the past go in order to move forward. I am very happy to say that this book fits all my criteria which is why I am giving it my highest rating possible.

This is the first book in a new series by Miss Aycart, and the story centers around Mike and Kyra who grew up together in the town of Alden. From the first day they met, they shared a very special bond despite their age difference (Mike is four years older than Kyra) – and despite their different social status – and as they grew older, that bond turned into a fierce and deep love. They were together for five years until the night Mike proposed and Kyra turned him down: not because she did not still love him deeply, but because she wanted to become a professional dancer, showing everyone that despite her being a child in foster care, she could succeed in reaching her dreams. Naturally, Mike did not take her refusal well, and after hurtling insults and extremely hurtful things at each other, they broke up.

Now, seven years later, Kyra is back in Alden, having suffered personal and professional humiliation, and she has her 7-year-old daughter, Samantha, with her. Needless to say, Mike is less than thrilled that she is back in town, bringing up all the hurt again, because it forces him to acknowledge one crucial fact: that he still loves her. That the fact that she got pregnant and married another man so soon after their break-up still cuts him to his core.

Wherever Mike turns, he cannot seem to avoid bumping into Kyra, and that is the OGs fault – the Original Grandmas. Now, that name alone will let you to believe that these grandmothers are…the…best! And you would be right. Rebecca, Mike’s grandmother, is part of the crew and despite being old (in her late eighties) she is most definitely still very much alive, doing everything she can in order to force Mike and Kyra to talk everything out and acknowledge that they still love each other. But can they find it in their hearts and minds to let go of their past hurts? Read the book. That is the only way you will know.

I have read the other series this author has written, The Bowen Series, and I enjoyed it immensely, so I had a feeling that Miss Aycart would reel me in once again – and I was not wrong. Honestly, there is not a single thing about this book that I do not love.

To me, Mike is a typical alpha male: proud, hard-headed, protective, but he can be sweet, caring and is, in fact, very vulnerable when it comes to Kyra. She is his drug. He may have acted like a complete douche-bag in the past, but only because he was hurting. I loved getting his point of view and although his thoughts and actions made me cringe more than once, I could understand his reactions. That does not mean that I did not want knee in the groin, however, but…well, he is a man, after all, and a very temperamental one at that.

As for Kyra: I admire her tenacity, and I find her to be very sweet, smart and even though her stubbornness can be exasperating from time to time, her reasons are not unfounded. Just like Mike, she has quite the temper, but she learns from her mistakes and makes the best life she can for her and her daughter.

The feelings of anger and hurt both Mike and Kyra harbour toward one another are very brutal and fierce. And, to me, very honest and realistic. They have both held on to their resentments for years but will have to learn to leave the past behind – and this is easier said than done. In the real world, not many people are able to forgive each other for past wrongs, but a few manage to do so and I am of the opinion that the author portrays the thoughts of the persons involved in a very belieavable way. Never, while reading this book, did I not feel connected to the characters or feel that certain scenes were farfetched. No, every emotion, every sorrow and joy are written in such a truly heartfelt way that you cannot help but keep reading, hoping that everything will turn out the way it is supposed to in the end.

This may be smut but it is very well written smut. Miss Aycart gives us characters filled with passion and flaws, and that is what makes them feel so real to me. Whenever Mike and Kyra are together, you can feel their intense chemistry, and you cannot stop hoping that they will end up together. Allow me to mention the OGs once again: they may seem carefree and harmless, but these ladies are a force all on their own; their hidden agenda becomes clear early on in the story, and I found myself laughing so hard whenever they made an appearance. This author knows how to mix a bit of humour with all the drama, and I love that!

So to sum up: if you love second-chance love stories as much as I do, I heartily recommend “Deep Down”. There is passion, incredibly steamy scenes that will make you blush and tingle, and the emotional connection between Mike and Kyra is so palpable that you almost believe that these characters are real. I know I will read this book many times and I can hardly wait until Miss Aycart gives us the next installment in the OGs series.

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Excerpt: Read Chapter One Here

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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After a colorful array of jobs all over Europe ranging from translator to chocolatier to travel agent to sushi chef to flight dispatcher, Elle Aycart is certain of one thing and one thing only: aside from writing romances, she has abso-frigging-lutely no clue what she wants to do when she grows up. Not that it stops her from trying all sorts of crazy stuff. While she is probably now thinking of a new profession, her head never stops churning new plots for her romances. She lives currently in Barcelona, Spain, with her husband and two daughters, although who knows, in no time she could be living at the Arctic Circle in Finland, breeding reindeer. Elle loves to hear from readers! elleaycart@gmail.com

 

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 And here is the giveaway: 5 ebook copies of any book from The Bowen Series (Winner’s Choice)

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“Play” (Stage Dive #2) by Kylie Scott – My Review

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Title: “Play” (Stage Dive #2)

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 25th March, 2014

Synopsis

Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller Lick.Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl. Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

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My Review

Complimentary copy given by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

One of my favourite romance sub-genres – if that is the correct term? – is the one revolving around rock stars. I do not entirely know why, except I suppose it could be that I love how you get the chance at seeing past the fame and fortune these men and women posses, instead finding out about their successes as well as their sorrows.

In the first book of the Stage Dive series, I fell head-over-heels in love with David Ferris, but the small glimpses I had of the drummer in the band, Malcolm Ericson, made me really excited about getting his story – I remember thinking to myself that there really had to be more to Mal than this carefree persona he presented to his friends. And I was right. But I will get to that later.

First, let me introduce you to Anne: when we first meet her, she is struggling to make ends meet, trying to get her younger sister through college while working at the local book shop. She does have a roommate – or rather: had – but comes home to an empty flat one evening. She has, plain and simple, been played by who she thought was a close friend, and she cannot fathom how she let herself being trampled on. Her hard heart hardens further, making her resolved to steer clear of new attachments of any kind.

To cheer her up, her friends, Lauren and Nate, convince her to go to a party with them. But this is not just any party: no, it is a party at David Ferris’ and his wife, Eve. This is where she meets Mal – and this is where I giggled (yes, giggled!) for the first time while reading this book. To say that their meeting is bizarre would be an understatement – and Anne is left feeling rather confused and star-struck as well. And, to tell the truth, rather turned on…*wink*

Imagine, then, Anne’s surprise when she finds Mal in her flat the next evening. He has decided that he needs a “fake girlfriend” and that Anne will be perfect for the role; and when he offers financial stability, fun and companionship, Anne finds herself unable to refuse. And let us be honest here: if you suddenly found a practically perfect male specimen in your home, promising to make your troubles go away while at the same time that said male being one you have had a rather significant crush on for years…Would you refuse? I know what my answer to that question is: probably not.

I really like Anne – she is hardworking, smart and very protective of the people she loves. You have to admire her ability to put herself second to her younger sister even though you also feel a bit sad for her. Anne had to grow up way too quickly for her age, but she has come out on top. In all honesty, there is not a single thing about her that I do not like – her circumstances and her will to succeed despite the odds make her feel very real to me.

If I could only use one word to describe Mal, I believe it would be “charismatic”. He is incredibly fun, yet as you get to know him better, you get a better understanding as to why he dons his mask, acting as if all is right with his world all the time. In reality, life for Mal is hard, and it is about to get even more so – obviously, I will not tell you why that it is. Suffice it to say, my heart broke for Mal when I learned of his hardships.

Anne and Mal are actually quite perfect for each other. Anne is the more realistic, down-to-earth type of girl whereas Mal is the kind of guy who makes rather impulsive decisions from time to time, and he needs a woman who can ground him. I really believe that Miss Scott excels at showing us a couple that truly complement each other – they know when to stand strong and support each other, as all couples should in times of need, but they also know when to let go and play for a bit.

And as for this author’s writing? It is, to me, pretty close to perfect. She has a great gift with words, making the reader forget about the real world while getting lost in the pages of her stories. All her characters become alive, and you feel sad when you turn the last page, realizing that the book is close to ending.

The only reason I do not give “Play” five stars is because I would have liked to really get inside Mal’s head. The story is told solely from Anne’s point of view – and please do not misunderstand me, I love Anne’s voice – but I cannot help but feel that having Mal’s thoughts would have made the book even better. As ever, however, this is solely my opinion, and I have no doubt that many readers will disagree with me. That is the beauty of books and people: no person feels entirely the same way about the same story. And that is to be respected.

Nevertheless, I truly loved this book: there is drama, a bit of angst, heartache and plenty of hilarious moments which made me laugh and cry at the same time. I love when stories touch me so much that they evoke many emotions in me, and I can hardly wait until the next part of the Stage Dive series, “Lead”, is released later this year.

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PURCHASE LINKS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today Best Selling Author – KYLIE SCOTT is a long time fan of erotic love stories, rock n roll, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

 

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