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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Author Interview + Mini Review: Alchemy xii by Tamsin Flowers!


Title: Alchemy xii - New Year's Eve Prologue
Series: The Alchemy Series 0.5
Author: Tamsin Flowers
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: November 18th 2014
Source: Tamsin Flowers


About the Book:
No one could ever accuse Harry Lomax of being a Dom's Dom. Sometimes he even forgets to make his submissives call him "Sir". But he is the charismatic Prince of Kink at Chicago's most secretive and exclusive sex club, where he runs Alchemy xii, the club's prestigious year-long training program for would-be subs.


When Harry spots Olivia Roux across a crowded floor, he's under no illusions as to what she is and what she isn't. A blond, Amazonian goddess, Olivia's no ing√©nue. She's a woman of the world whom he suspects might have a thing for kink, if only she realized it. One thing is for certain—Olivia is nobody's bitch.


Harry knows that he wants her. For his Alchemy xii training program, that's for sure. But for himself? Harry will try anything once—and Olivia's a woman who's got his name written all over her!


This is the first episode in the Alchemy xii series. You can follow the ongoing story of Olivia and Harry in further episodes which will be published monthly throughout 2015. Look out for Alchemy xii - January on January 1.


Interview:



Give a warm welcome to the ever lovely Tamsin Flowers! What inspired you to write Alchemy xii?


Alchemy xii has certainly been a long time coming! Probably more than two years ago, I made up my mind that I wanted to write a D/s story from the sub's point of view, using her diary as the principal vehicle for telling the story. After plenty of false starts and a number of different leading characters, I finally discovered my power duo, Harry and Olivia and once they came to life the whole project caught fire. Very quickly, I knew I had something really passionate and intense happening between them, and the structure of the training program that Harry runs made it obvious that monthly installments would be a great way to deliver the story.


I've loved your writings in past books. When did you learn you had an interest in the BDSM scene, or that you had a skill for writing erotica?

Thank you for that - it's great for a writer to hear, because quite often we're not too sure who has read our work! Some of your readers might have heard this before, but I stumbled into writing erotica quite by chance. Naturally, I've always wanted to write and I've several non-erotic novels and a number of screenplays languishing in a drawer as testament to that. But about three years ago, while checking out publishers for a novel I'd written about a girl drummer in a band, I came across a call for submissions for an erotic anthology. The book I was trying to sell had some sex scenes and they were the one thing my writing mentor had never criticized - so I thought, hey, why not give this a go? I sat down, wrote my first story having quite literally never read a word of erotica and it was - much to my surprise- accepted for publication. When I look back at it now, I think it's a little rough around the edges - but that's what got me started and I haven't looked back (though I have now read some!)
And as to BDSM, let's just say it's something of an ongoing fascination!


What's one "naughty" word that drives you insane/turns you off?

Actually, there are plenty - any of the euphemisms people use in erotica for describing body parts. I hate it when a writer goes all coy and calls a woman's vagina her 'sex' or her 'lady bits' or…there are simply too many to list. In my books, I try to stick to cunt or pussy - if these words offend a reader, then maybe erotica isn't quite the genre for them!

How do you decide what traits or interests to give your characters?

There are a lot of factors that go into building a fictional character and for me, one of the most important things is to avoid stereotypes. Certainly, it was a big issue for me in creating Harry and Olivia, as I felt as if I'd read too many stern, all-knowing Doms and too many subs that were, frankly, too submissive. Harry and Olivia are not defined by their dominant/submissive characteristics - they're fully rounded human beings with a life and characteristics beyond just what they do in the bedroom or the dungeon! Harry often forgets to be Dommy, while Olivia has no intention of submitting to anyone! I always try to make my characters a little unusual, with their own idiosyncrasies, but at the same time, it's important to make them believable rather than caricatures. It's a fine balance and it has to be maintained, in this case, over an incredibly long story arc.

It's my understanding that the rest of the Alchemy xii series will be released monthly in novella-sized pieces. Is this style of story-telling different than writing a full length book? Is it a different mindset?

You're right - there will be an Alchemy xii novella released on the first of each month throughout 2015 - and the fact that readers can subscribe make it a totally new kind of reading experience! And, yes, it certainly makes a difference to the way I have to write the story. As well as crafting a full length story that runs through the year, each novella also needs its own arc to make it a satisfying read. The basis of each episode is the fact that Olivia spends one weekend each month training with Harry at the Alchemy club. Between these weekends, he often sets Olivia homework and assignments and throughout the year we meet other characters who populate the club - including Harry's beautiful boss and mentor, the uber-Domme Belladonna Grim, the three other subs he's training at the same time, and his nemesis, Dick Glass, the pony play master! All of this has taken quite a wealth of planning and plotting, to make sure things happen in the right episode to move the story forward each month!

Is there a specific place that inspires you to write?

Goodness me, no! I can write anywhere, anytime, either on my laptop or in pencil in a giant notebook. (And with so many episodes of Alchemy xii that's probably a good thing too!)

Olivia and Harry are no doubt sexy characters. Did you use any "real life" models as inspiration for their appearances?

If I did, my lips are sealed! Actually, that's a 'no', though with any character one creates, there may be certain facets taken from real-life people, mixed up, changed around and matched with someone else's characteristics to make a completely fictional creation. It's one of the most fun parts of being a writer.

Since the first piece of this erotic encounter is entitled New Year's Eve, do you have any plans to celebrate the holiday?

Alchemy xii - New Year's Eve is officially released on New Year's Eve (though it's already widely available, free of charge), and the second episode, Alchemy xii - January launches on January 1 (although you can already pre-order it). So I think possibly, with two major launches spanning the evening, it might be a bit reckless of me to party too hard. However, a glass of champagne certainly won't go amiss in celebration of the Alchemy xii kick off.

Can you describe this story in 5 words?

I can do it in three:

Wild about Harry!


This or That

Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate
Ebook or physical copy: Ebook
Black and white or color: Acid-drenched color!
sub or Dom: That would be telling!
City or country: City
Winter or summer: Winter
Coffee or tea: Coffee

Thank you so much, Tamsin, for taking some time out of the holiday season to answer a few questions with me and for inviting me to read Alchemy xii!




Review:


★★★★

This story is an absolute delight. It's short, hot, and a great introduction to what is sure to be an explosive and addictive series of short stories from the kinky mind of one of my favorite erotic authors, Tamsin Flowers.

Harry is delightfully delicious and makes this story one that's not to be missed. He's Dominant without being overtly so. And he has a lovely accent, which is definitely a plus. He had me hooked from the start with his intensity and his interest in Olivia. I loved reading about the two of them together, and I can't wait to see how the story progresses. The sex/BDSM scenes are well-written and definitely hot while still being believable (something I admittedly struggle with while reading erotica: believable scenes).

The pacing is well done and the settings are all well described. It gets extra points because it is set in Chicago and since that's my hometown, I gotta love that detail. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I also give props because while this is an introduction novella, so to speak, that this didn't bombard you with back story. There were no chapters of "you need to know this before you start" and no introductions of eight million characters that may or may not be relevant later.

Plus, the cover art is absolutely stunning. I mean, just look at it.

I can't wait to read the next installments, and if you want a subscription to fabulous and steamy erotica that features a training program, an elusive club, and a unique Dom, I suggest you get on board. Thank you so much to Tamsin Flowers who sent me a copy of this short story in exchange for my honest review.

Get It Now!:

Although Alchemy xii - New Year's Eve was supposed to be released on 31 December, I'm thrilled to say it's actually gone out early and is available now. This first episode is free and you can get it from all the usual suspects!

Alchemy xii Store
Amazon US
Amazon UK
B&N
Smashwords
All Romance
Kobo

The next installment, January, comes out January first. Be sure to check it out!


Or if you'd like, you can check out the subscription package from the Alchemy xii Store. Look at how pretty!



About the Author:


Tamsin Flowers has been writing erotica for three years. She started out with short stories and has featured in more than 20 anthologies to date from Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, House of Erotica, Xcite Books and Velvet Books. Her works have featured in collections curated by some of today's most celebrated editors - including Violet Blue (Best Women's Erotica 2014 and 2015), Rachel Kramer Bussel (The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales), Alison Tyler (Twisted: Bondage with an Edge, Bound for Trouble: BDSM for Women, Just for Her, Just for Him) and Kristina Wright (Best Erotic Romance 2014 and 2015, Passionate Kisses: Erotic Romance Fantasies for Couples).
She has also self-published a sizzling collection of zombie erotica, Zombie Erotoclypse, and has had novels and novellas released by Xcite Books (The Christmas Tattoo, Her Boss and His Client), Secret Cravings (The Crimson Bond, The Scarlet Bond) and Totally Bound (Doing It for the Coach).

Book Blitz, Excerpt, & Giveaway: The Winning Side by CM Doporto!


The Winning Side (University Park, #3)
Release Date: December 21, 2014
Genre: New Adult Sports Romance 18+ for adult
situations and language
Page numbers: 
272 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Lexi’s determined to keep her word and stand by
Raven’s side because her love for him is too strong to deny.  As Raven learns to deal with the issues that
are destined to destroy him and their relationship, their love is taken to a
new level. As doors are closed and new ones are opened, Lexi and Raven find
themselves in a heavenly bliss, but not without the challenges from Raven’s
past. With a true test of love, Lexi and Raven have to decide if they are
willing to do whatever it takes to be on the winning side.


  

Excerpt:



Delaney held up a light pink sweater to her chest. “This is hideous. You have to trash this thing.” She flung it behind her.
“Hey, I like that sweater.” I dashed after it and then gave it a once over and agreed with her. It was something my mom had bought for me and it had Betty Homemaker written all over it with pearl buttons and a jacquard trim. I shoved it in the return-home bag. “I think coming back to the dorm will be good for both of us. When Raven’s having a bad day, I can just come back here so he can have some time to himself. Time to process whatever he’s going through.”
And time to fight his demons.
“And you trust that he will be okay.” She threw one of my skirts over her head. “He won’t plunge off the edge and go back to where he was, will he?”
“I’ll check on him. It’s not like I won’t see him. And if needed, you can take me to his apartment, right?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“Who’s apartment?” Raven stood in the doorway carrying my bags.
“Your apartment, silly.” I smiled at him, trying to displace any unnecessary fear or jealously. Although Raven hadn’t seemed liked the jealous type, I wanted to keep it that way. That was one less thing I didn’t have to worry about in our relationship.
“Hey, what’s this?” Delaney held up a pink and silver Victoria Secret’s gift card.
“Where did you get that?” I said taking it from her hand.
“It was buried in your clothes.” She pointed to the mound on my bed.
Raven looked over my shoulder as I opened the flap.
Have fun shopping with Raven. Love, Dad.
“Holy shit. Is he serious?” I looked at Raven and he smiled. Was my dad trying to make up for my mom going bat shit crazy and burning all the lingerie Raven had bought me?
Sweet.
“Damn!” Raven covered his mouth with his fist. “Three hundred bucks. We can buy you a lot of sexy stuff.” Raven cocked a brow. “When are we going?”
“Whenever you want.” I eyed him with a hungry stare. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get enough of him.
Of his taste.
Of his touch.
Of his scent.
I was permanently caught in The Raven’s trap. And I wondered if he was really done with setting out his bait and happy with the catch he’d caught. Time would only tell. I shook my head, trying to calm my ranging hormones.
“Is that it?” I asked, looking at the two bags by the door.
“What do you mean, is that it?” He huffed, gripping his waist. “I brought up like five bags. And there’s still more at my apartment.”
“I’m sorry.” I walked past him and headed for the closet. “I didn’t ask my dad to bring me all of my clothes.”
“I know.” He grabbed my hand and spun me around. I slammed against his body and rested my hands against his broad chest. “If you’d just stay with me, then we wouldn’t have to be hauling all of your stuff back and forth.”
His scent laced around me, making it difficult to stand my ground. “But I am going to stay with you.”
“Yeah, but not every night.” He pressed his lips to the sensitive part of my neck and my mind quickly forgot why I had talked myself in to coming back to the dorm. “I need a little bit of this every night.” He popped me on the butt and I squealed.
“Okay, I’m outta here.” Delaney dropped the clothes in her hand.
“No. I need your advice.” I tried to wiggle out of Raven’s arms, but he only held me tighter. “I need you to help me pick out clothes that will make me look sexy.” I glanced up at Raven and he let out a low growl as he continued to nibble on my neck, not paying any attention to Delaney. I leaned to the side, trying to break free, even though I really didn’t want to. “Raven, stop.” I pleaded with a tone that said yes, more than it said no.
“Looks like you’re about to get undressed so I’ll help you later.” Delaney step aside and headed for the door.
“Thanks, Delaney.” Raven said as he kicked off his shoes and started to pull off his shirt. His stomach tensed and I caught a nice view of his elegantly chiseled abs.
“Shit, I almost forgot.” Delaney turned around before pulling the door shut. “Whoa! Can you wait until I get out? I don’t need a glimpse of the freak show.”
“Hurry.” Raven tossed his shirt on the chair. “I don’t have all day.”
Delaney’s eyes landed directly on Raven’s midsection for a full count of three before she finally tore them away and looked at me. “Do y’all want to grab a pizza with Luke and me later?”
Raven looked at me, waiting for a response. “I’m game if you are,” I said, feeling the hunger pains bubble up in my stomach.
His lips spread into a full smile. “Sure, but I’m game for something else first.” Raven encircled his arms around me and pressed his lips against my ear as his hands wondered up and down my backside.
“What time Delaney?” I grabbed his arms, trying to restrain him from feeling me up in front of my roommate. He stretched his neck, trying to kiss me. I laughed, unable to resist his tempting offer. After all, I was already in his trap and I was there to stay.
“Is an hour long enough?” Delaney appraised Raven from head to toe and then gave me a wide-eyed warning.
“No, but we’ll make it work.” He said, undressing me with his eyes.
I giggled as Raven picked me up and tossed me on the bed, landing on top of my clothes.
“I warned you, Lexi,” Delaney said, as she pulled the door shut.
“I know. But I can’t resist The Raven’s trap.”




Pre-Order Links:
AmazonApple iTunesBarnes & NobleKobo



Currently Opposing Sides, book 1 in the University Park Series is FREE for a limited time.



About the Author
CM Doporto lives in the great state of Texas with her husband and son enjoying life with their extensive family along with their Chihuahua, Mexican Redhead Parrot, and several fish.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from The University of Texas at Arlington. She briefly worked in the area of Public Relations and Advertising and then pursued a career in the field of Human Resources. CM considers herself a life-long learner and returned to school and earned her Master of Art’s Degree in Organizational Development from Dallas Baptist University.

She writes Young Adult and New Adult Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories about ordinary women who do extraordinary things, become a heroine, and find love along the way.

Author Links:
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Novella Mini Review: Touching Paradise by Cleo Peitsche


Title: Touching Paradise
Series: Shark Shifter Paranormal Romance #1
Author: Cleo Peitsche
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: August 27th 2014
Source: Pouch Productions & Netgalley


Description via Goodreads:




TOUCHING PARADISE is an erotic paranormal romance of 41,000 words.

Despite his billions in the bank, Koenraad is a shark shapeshifter haunted by secrets and regrets. Unable to move on with his life, he relentlessly patrols the waters near the island he once considered home. Fate puts the beautiful Monroe in his path, and duty demands he offer his services, but one look into her eyes and he knows the lonely, frightened woman secretly yearns for adventure.

Monroe is having a hard time getting into the vacation spirit. She’s surrounded by powdery white sand and swaying palm trees, but she’s terrified of the ocean. When her tour boat breaks down at sea, she’s thrilled to skip the so-called trip of a lifetime. However, a gorgeous man with a sleek yacht is determined to change her mind… and maybe her life.

Contains explicit sexual content and graphic language that may be objectionable to some readers. Includes sexual dominance and submission and very mild BDSM elements. For adults only.




★★★★

I've read a fair amount of erotica in my life, and a very large portion of those titles contain shifters that are either some sort of jungle cat or most commonly, a wolf. I tried passing this book by as I looked through titles, but I just couldn't do it. How often does one stumble across a shifter romance where the hunky lead's shifting form is a shark? I thought this would be just what I needed to get out of the wolf-cat shifter romance rut I've been in, and I was largely correct.

I really liked both main characters in this story. Monroe is likable and relatable. She's trying to figure out what she wants out of life and how to get it, and has self-worth issues that I think we all have grappled with at some point or another. She gains her inner strength and decides to take what she wants, and I like that about her. And then there's Koenraad, the hunky shifter previously mentioned. He's rich and protective and alpha and all other things good in the world of romance books. Together they're explosive and I loved reading about them growing together as a couple. The sex scenes are well written, and the rest of the plot is too.

I also really liked the setting. It's very detailed so that the reader feels like they've been whisked off to a beautiful island paradise too. The shark shifting ties into the island's history, and I found this to be a nice touch to the setting and explanation of the significance of Koenraad's abilities.

This was my first experience reading a romance where a shark shifter takes center stage, but oddly enough it really worked for me and I hope that it won't be the last. If Goodreads proves correct, this is a series, and I would definitely read the next book to follow what happens. If you're tired of run of the mill shifter romances, this is a book for you. Thanks to Pouch Productions & Netgalley who provided me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Non-Fiction Review: Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler


Title: Uganda Be Kidding Me
Author: Chelsea Handler
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: March 24 2014
Source: Grand Central Publishing & Netgalley


Description via Goodreads:




Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever.

On safari in Africa, it's anyone's guess as to what's more dangerous: the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she's fumbling the seduction of a guide by not knowing where tigers live (Asia, duh) or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she's always game for the next misadventure.

The situation gets down and dirty as she defiles a kayak in the Bahamas, and outright sweaty as she escapes from a German hospital on crutches. When things get truly scary, like finding herself stuck next to a passenger with bad breath, she knows she can rely on her family to make matters even worse. Thank goodness she has the devoted Chunk by her side-except for the time she loses him in Telluride.

Complete with answers to the most frequently asked traveler's questions, hot travel trips, and travel etiquette, none of which should be believed, UGANDA BE KIDDING ME has Chelsea taking on the world, one laugh-out-loud incident at a time.




★★★★

I'm a huge fan of Chelsea Handler. I watched her show and her sitcom and have read and enjoyed her books in the past. I adore her raunchy and blunt storytelling, and I'm happy to say that Uganda Be Kidding Me is chock full of the humor I've come to love so much from her work.

Uganda Be Kidding Me follows Chelsea and her group of friends on an African safari, and hilarity naturally ensues. I laughed aloud more than once to myself. I am mildly impressed with how relatable this group of girls is, especially Chelsea, when you consider the fact that I am not in fact a celebrity or rich enough to fly my dog on a private jet across the country. They just seem like the kinda group I'd want to have a drink (or six) with and listen to their stories. In edition to being funny, it's also extremely quotable. There are a lot of one liners in here that made me snicker and want to remember them for later use.

Humor aside, the book actually contains some useful traveling information. There are tips scattered throughout the book, some humorous, some not, that help to outline the less experienced traveler. Plus, in her narrative of her African adventures one gets more tips, and a healthy dose of facts and tidbits about the animals and hotels/camps in which the group of friends stayed. Another plus to this book is that there are pictures included of the trip, giving the reader a little more insight and a few more laughs.

My only real disconnect to this book was the last fourth or so. Prior to this chunk of the book, the theme had been traveling. It was mostly set in Africa, but there are a few other places involved as well. But towards the end it goes back to LA and stays there. While the stories even from her own back yard are also hilarious, it felt a bit disjointed from the rest of the book. Still perfectly enjoyable, but just a little mismatched.

I recommend this book if you're a fan of Chelsea Handler's comedy, comedic nonfiction, or joke-packed travel memoirs that are chockoblock with raunchy stories fueled by drugs, sex, alcohol, and pooping in kayaks. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Novella Mini Review: Santa's Toy by Nichelle Gregory!


Title: Santa's Toy
Author: Nichelle Gregory
Format: Kindle Edition, 69 pages
Pub. Date: November 18th 2013
Source: Gifted via Amazon


Description via Goodreads:




A sexy, ruthless lawyer becomes Santa's toy in order to get off the Naughty List!

Danielle attends her firm's lavish holiday dinner party held every year in a museum in hopes of learning she's made partner. She's stepped on more than a few toes, but she isn't concerned about the decisions made to ensure her rise to the top. When Danielle stops to admire the museum's replica of the North Pole, she is caught off guard when Santa beckons to her. Lead by two of his elves, Danielle soon discovers this jolly old man is the real deal and there's a price to be paid for continually being on his Naughty List. He gives her two options for redemption, but Danielle refuses to jeopardize her burgeoning career and agrees instead to become Santa's toy. She will do whatever he and his two elves want to get what she wants, but all is not what it seems inside Santa's Workshop...




★★★★

I stumbled across this title while wandering around on Goodreads, and was happy to find it waiting for me in my email inbox from Santa. Santa's Toy is a quick and sexy holiday read that reexamines what it means to be on the big guy's naughty list at Christmastime.

If you're anything like me, you may be thinking, "Sexy Santa Claus? That's kinda weird Jill. I mean he's kinda fat and old to think about at night instead of sugar plums." But this ain't your mother's Santa Claus. He's a dreamy-looking, Dominant man willing to make a deal with the help of his two equally hot elf companions. I know it sounds weird.... But it works. From the use of minty massage oil to peppermint sticks to a secret hideaway in Santa's little visit workshop, this is an oddly steamy Christmas erotica novella that is the perfect stocking stuffer for your ereader this time of year.

This is an erotica novella, so obviously there's sexual content. I'd recommend it to those on the naughty list, or who prefer spice over sugar in their holiday reads. Thanks to "Santa", who gifted me a copy via Kindle.

Merry Christmas!


Good afternoon my lovely readers. I would like to write you a short message wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, blessed Yule, happy festivus, or whatever else day you celebrate in this general time period. May your cocoa be warm, your books insta-love free, and your family and friends be happy and healthy this upcoming new year. Happy reading, good eating, and merry pantless, school-free work-free relaxation days.

From my reading nook to yours,

Jillyn


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Release Day Mini Review & Excerpt: Rival Hearts by Natalie Decker!


Title: Rival Hearts
Series: Rival Love #2
Author: Natalie Decker
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: December 23rd 2014
Source: Swoon Romance



Summary from Goodreads:

Caleb is ticked off. Skylar hasn’t answered any of his calls, texts, or emails since her move to New York, virtually cutting him out of her life without warning. So Caleb decides to go after her—and convince her to come back home.

But even when Skylar realizes her heart does belong at home with Caleb, her uncertainty lingers. Is it safe? Have things changed?

After the mysterious vandalism to the pool at Delmont High, everyone is desperate for answers they believe Skylar can provide. At first, she’s determined not to run. But when Caleb’s ex-girlfriend unleashes a vengeful surprise, Sky's love for Caleb is threatened.

Are these two rival hearts ready to fight for their love, or will they have to throw in the towel?

RIVAL HEARTS is the sequel to the bestselling teen romance novel RIVAL LOVE by Natalie Decker.


Excerpt:


“Whoa, babycakes. Chill. I just wanted to make some conversation and maybe rock out a little.” He winks at me. “You’re feisty; I like that.”

He flicks his eyes to my nightstand. There are two photos there; first is one of Caleb and me. It was an unseasonably warm day in December, and we were fighting over the sponge we were using to wash our cars. He dumped suds in my hair and I sprayed him with the hose. I was the one washing my car first, then he just magically needed to clean his too. My swimming friend Kayla took it the picture and framed it for me before I left. The second photo is of Caleb, his uncle Brian, my mom, and me. Caleb is looking over at me with a smirk, and I’m glaring at him. Brian and my mom are smiling at the camera. My mom was so mad I put this photo in a frame, but it was a memory for me. The moment I started realizing my feelings for Caleb.

“Brother?”

I cringe. “No! That’s definitely not my brother. The only sibling I have was in your lap about, I don’t know, five minutes ago.”

“Ah. Gotcha. So, wanna have lunch with me tomorrow?”

I shake my head. “No thanks.” I’ve been eating lunch in odd places like the library or stairway, because it’s easier. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here because I had nowhere else to go. Right now, I’d give anything to be back home with my mom, but that’s not going to happen.

He keeps inspecting my room and says, “Well, looks like I’m going to have to find another way to fit into your schedule.”

“Uh … I don’t have any slots for you. Sorry.” I fold my arms but it makes me wonder. If a girl suggested the same thing to Caleb, would he take them out? Does he think we’re still a couple? Would he move on? Could I move on? No. I’m pretty certain I’ll never get over Caleb. I’m not sure this whole long-distance relationship thing is a great idea but maybe I should try. I need to call him. He’s probably so pissed at me for ignoring him. I know I’d be pissed.

Malcom moves to the door. “Until next time, babycakes.” He winks, and walks out of my room.

I sneer at his nickname. “Uck.” I walk over to my door and close it, then flip the lock. I wish Caleb were here. And my depression starts up all over again



Review:


★★★

Three and a half stars.

---

I was really excited when I was invited to read this sequel to Rival Love, a book I read earlier this year and really enjoyed. This is a solid continuation of Caleb and Skylar's story that has the same great pacing and writing that readers loved in the first book.

I really enjoyed having the chance to see how Caleb and Skylar continued their relationship, since the first book just wasn't enough of the couple. It's nice seeing the characters grow and mature as they figure themselves and the rest of the world out. It's fairly easy to relate to, since growing up is something we all have to do. That being said, I wasn't as attached to them in this book as I was in the first one. I know that they have growing up to do (don't we all?), but they still seemed a bit immature for their age group. I felt like I was reading about kids who were younger than high school. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that I noticed. This made me feel a bit more disjointed, and while I related to the book as a whole, it was harder to relate to namely Skylar as a single character. I did, however, continue to love Caleb. He's why I enjoyed book one so much, and he's vital to my liking of this book as well.

I also really love the cover. Look at how cute it is! It definitely drew me into the story and would look really cute on a physical shelf.

I think that fans of the first Rival Love book will enjoy this addition to the story. While I did find it a bit harder to connect to the characters, I'd still recommend this to fans of Rival Love as well as those who enjoy young adult romance in a contemporary setting. Thanks so much to Swoon Romance for giving me a copy to read for my honest opinions.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blog Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway: LIFE AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman By Michelle E. Reed!



Title: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman
Series: Atman City, #2
Author: Michelle E. Reed
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Release Date: December 16, 2014

About the Book
Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. Confusion over her feelings for Charlie, residual resentment over losing Hannah, and a continuous stream of unwanted assignments leave Dez restless and argumentative.

In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life.

It begins as all their adventures do, but as light falls into darkness, a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers.

In M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, the second book in the Atman City series, Michelle E. Reed continues the story of Dez Donnelly, pushing her to her limits and surprising readers at every twist and turn of the vast world that is Atman.

Death was only the beginning.




Author Guest Post:




What I Love the Most About My Main Character

Thank you for hosting me during the M.I.A.: Missing in Atman blog tour!

There are so many things I love about Dez, which made me all the more grateful for the opportunity to continue her story in M.I.A.

If I have to pick her one trait I love the most, I would go with her refusal to accept anything at its face value. From the moment she stepped off the train in Life, A.D.—book one of the Atman City series—Dez has questioned everyone and everything about this new world.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

The questions actually began the moment she found herself on the train, and she hasn’t let up since.

While this is a trait that often creates more trouble for her than she knows what to do with, it also shows strength and individuality. Dez never accepts “That’s just the way it is” as an answer. She seeks more; she wants better. I love the way this frustrates and those around her, while at the same time endearing her to them.

The afterlife can be a dangerous place, but it hasn’t stopped her, yet. Everything here is new, and warnings from experienced staff as well as her peers are like water off a duck’s back. Dez isn’t content to be a mere spectator in her afterlife. She wants to be in control, and pushes the staff for explanations, even when they feel none is needed.

I think the reader can find in Dez someone who they can root for, even when her behavior drives them a little crazy. She doesn’t always make the best decisions (because what fun would that be, right?), but she always stays true to who she is. Dez questions all authority figures, from train conductors to World War I veterans, and never stops asking why things are the way they are.

Her curiosity and constant need to push the boundaries land her in a whole new world of trouble in M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, and I can’t wait to share it with readers!

Thanks again for having me on your blog!



Buy it here:
Amazon | BN | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound | iBooks

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour stops by clicking here!

About the Author:


Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Giveaway:


~Winner will be drawn January 16, 2015
~Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman by Michelle E. Reed (INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [74]



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* the picture to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

So. Many. Packages. Unfortunately they won't be posted here though, because they have been chockablock with Christmas presents for my friends and families. I'm still waiting on three more. I hope they get here soon! Today I'm going to have dinner with my sister as we wrap presents, and we've named it Turkey Wrap 2014. I hope it'll be a blast.

New from Netgalley:

None!

Fabulous Freebies:
The Vampire's Pet by V.R. Cumming
Love & College: New Adult & College Romance Anthology by Various Authors
Dec the Holls by Jasinda Wilder



In My Email Inbox:
No Time Like Now by Jennifer Young Thanks Jennifer!


In My Mailbox:
Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance edited by Mitzi Szereto

Thanks Cleis Press.

Audiobook Additions:
Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux



And I think that's it. What about you? If you're expecting a card from me through one of my exchanges, never fear. They're on the way!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Blog Tour & Giveaway: Josey's Christmas Cookie by Sharon Kleve!








JOSEY’S
CHRISTMAS COOKIE BLOG TOUR


BY
SHARON KLEVE




 


 




 


FIVE
STAR REVIEW


5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovable Story!


By Debby Lee


 


I loved this
heartwarming Christmas story.

Josey was a workaholic who spent all her spare time at the office in order to
cope with the tragic loss of her parents and being jilted by her fiance. I
really felt for her.

Clint was a handsome veterinarian Josey met at an animal rescue event who
helped her buy a large slobbering dog named Cookie. Clint handled the animals
with professionalism, sincerity, and great care.

The two Morning Dove's in the story, Harry and Beatrice, were desperate to see
Josey and Clint get together in time for Christmas.

If you enjoy sweet plots, whimsical animal themes, and stories that make you go
"aaawww" this one's for you.

Highly entertaining, highly recommended!


 




BLURB:


In the blink of an eye, Josey lost the most important
people in her life, her parents.


Can a hound dog named Cookie, a pair of mourning doves,
and a passionate vet bring the holiday spirit back to Josey's life in time for
Christmas?


 


EXCERPT:


As I
stared at the pathetic dog in his diaper, I realized no one wanted the dog,
they were just gawking at him. The sign said his name was Cookie, part Basset
Hound and part Redbone Coonhound. I didn’t know anything about either breed. I
did know he was very large and he was slobbering everywhere and he should have
a diaper around his neck. I turned to continue my search and a felt a tug on my
pant leg. I looked down and Cookie had a hold of my jeans. When our eyes met,
Cookie's eyes twinkled, just like Clint's.


 


A
glob of drool hit the top of my shoe. He let go of my pant leg and licked the
goo off my shoe. I wanted to say, "gross," but instead I said,
"thank you." I was hooked. His fur was a reddish brown and soft as
silk. Not caring about drool or dog hair, I sat down on the floor next to
Cookie, wrapped my arms around his neck, and finally felt at peace.


 


Another
glob of drool hit the floor next to my butt. He looked sad, like that was a
deal breaker and I'd leave him behind. I looked Cookie in his sad eyes and
laughed. He pulled back his goofy lips and smiled back.


 


That's
when I heard Clint's voice, "Well Josey, it looks like you found your soul
mate."


 


He
laughed, but not at my expense.


 


 


ABOUT SHARON KLEVE:


 
Sharon Kleve was born and raised in
Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.




Sharon is a multi-published author of
paranormal and contemporary romance. She loves romance. She loves reading
romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets
no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other's
arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they
deserve
with a few bumps and bruises along the way.


One of her favorite things to do is
picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the
emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way
her favorite authors have inspired her.


When not writing, she can usually be found
either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the
kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.


 


CONTACT SHARON HERE:


 


























 




 


 


GRAND PRIZES


 


(1)
$5.00 gift card


(2)
Audio books or (2) eBook copies. Winner’s choice


 


 

Book Blitz, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Where Dead Bodies Lie by Kat Cazanav!



Title: Where Dead Bodies Lie
Series: The Body Dowser Series, #1
Author: Kat Cazanav
Release date: 12/16/14

Book Description via Goodreads:

For as long as I can remember, I have been told to follow three important rules;
Always guard my ability
Never share my secret
And pretend to be normal.

However, those three little rules don’t make my life easier. I still find dead people and deal with strange visions. Not to mention, an attraction to a boy who doesn’t exist. Whenever we cross paths he mists away like smoke on a mirror. He drives me crazy, that Kaff Cooper.

As a flock of dead crows fall from the blackened sky, Kaff becomes the only one who can see the truth straight to the dark underbelly of who I actually am.

My hands feel the pull to extract the forsaken, the lost, the forgotten. It comes as naturally as breathing and there is no stopping it.




Excerpt:



She deposited a small pink Victoria’s Secret bag in my lap. “I ran out of wrapping paper so I had to regift in a used bag but I figured if this kept Clyde and me from getting burned in the kitchen, why not give them to you.” She smiled. “Anyway, this is more protective.”
Way too much information. I tore at the hot pink tissue, dug to the bottom, and plucked out the most hideous brown oven mitts I had ever seen. I looked up, annoyed. “I can’t wear these. They’re . . . they’re. . . .”
“Say it.”
“Butt ugly.”
“Then start a trend.”
“Where? The zoo?”
“The mitts are thermal lined in case dowsing burns your fingertips. It’s a safety precaution.” She stepped on the brake and we jerked forward. “You can’t afford to screw this up, girlfriend. Wear them when you feel the urge.”
“You’re giving me mixed messages. I have a lot of urges and none of them require oven mitts. Seriously. You know how humiliating this is for me? Now you want me to advertise my quirk with torch-blower gloves? Why not throw rotten tomatoes at me in a bell tower? Or send me to massage school where at least I’ll be admired for my vibrating hands.” Disgusted, I tossed the mitts at my feet.



Buy it here:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Author Links:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: Lunar Passing by Rachel Deagan!



Title: Lunar Passing
Series: Caged Moon #2
Author: Rachel Deagan
Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance

Book Description:
As if in slow motion, the world spun. The front fender of the truck slammed into us from behind, and everything lurched forward. Bags, arms, clothes, sailed by my head. The muffled sound of screams were lost somewhere in a tumultuous roar as the van hit a pothole, and we began to roll. Cold metal crushed in on me, and the splintering sound of gunshots echoed in my ears…

Several months had passed since the murders in the old farmhouse and secrets had been revealed. Too bad a cover up in this day and age, hadn’t been exactly so easy.




Guest Post:

My interest in werewolves has roots as far back in my life as to when I was a child, so it's difficult to really pinpoint and credit only one source of inspiration for "The Caged Moon Series." It truly comes from a lot of places. Some of such sources are movies like "The Howling," and "American Werewolf in London;" books such as "Cycle of the Werewolf" by Stephen King and "Shiver" by Maggie Steifvater. Along with my fascination with werewolves, lycanthropes and shifters, I've also discovered that lunar cycles and mythology have played a part in my inspiration as well.

In Lunar Passing, for example, I found myself delving further into the mythology behind it; stepping away from the norm of what we know of most werewolves today. Charlotte, herself, is a very different kind of werewolf -- with a very different ability. I wanted to expand on the idea that wolves could turn human, rather than the wolf just becoming the human's curse; the brothers were the outcome of that.

This novel is actually set in the Lunar Passing. As discussed within it, it is a very real thing and seemed fitting since it is the one time of year that the moon is closest to the Earth. That fact alone could cause some of the changes, both mentally and physically, within the characters that helped shape and define the story as it progressed. I think readers will be delightfully surprised at the many twists and turns, not only plot wise, but in how the story of The Caged Moon Werewolves progress.


Excerpt:


“What are you doing here?” Aaron asked, standing in the doorway at the side of the room marked Staff Only. I hadn’t heard the main door open behind me, nor had I felt the cold draft of air that would have been pulled in with him. So he was already here, before me. The thought sent goose bumps down my spine. “Liam said for everyone to stay put, so we wouldn’t be seen.”

“I should be asking you the same thing,” I said, trying to front an air of self-confident bravery. “Why are you here then?”

A devious smile rose across his lips. “I don’t take orders from my brother. Apparently, you don’t either. I admire that.”

My stomach felt sick. How could he think that I would ever be on his side about anything, especially in defiance of Liam? “He loves you,” I blurted out, trying to refrain from shaking. I was so upset. “How dare you.”

“Oh, please. Don’t go getting your panties all in a bunch. You really need to learn how to relax.” He shook his head, and closed the staff door behind him. “I was teasing, Charlotte, but that aside, what are you doing out here?”

My wolf wanted to claw and scratch him. He had some nerve. “I don’t need to be telling you anything,” I said, slipping the envelope into my pocket while he closed the staff door behind him.

“Well, good then.” He smiled in a way that made me want to growl. “Then I don’t have to tell you, what I’m doing either.” He winked, moving past me to the main door leading to the curb outside. “We have a truce.”

“Wait,” I said, and he paused, lifting a brow. “What are you talking about? Why were you in the office? That’s staff only.”

“Now, come on, Charlotte. I thought we had a deal.”

“I never agreed to anything, and you don’t exactly have a great track record. Did you do something to the guy who works here? Where is he?”

Aaron shrugged, extending his arms with mocked innocence.

I sighed. “Fine, I was going to mail a letter to my parents to tell them I was okay. I didn’t want them to worry.”

“Thank you,” he said with a smile. “That’s all I wanted to know.” He turned back to the door, swinging it wide. The cool air nipped at my skin, making me shiver.

“Hey,” I said, stomping up to him, “that’s not fair. I told you what I was doing. Now you have to.”

“Why?” he asked with a chuckle. “You really are fun to mess with though,” he teased with a grin. “The look on your face is great.”

God, I hated him. I tried to stay calm.

“Did you do something to the man who works here?” I demanded through my teeth, barely containing the coiling fury building inside me.

He licked his lip and then leaned in close to me, his breath tickling my ear. “I ate him.”



Buy it here:
Amazon

About the Author:


Rachel grew up in small town Massachusetts where she spent most of her time writing about strange paranormal creatures instead of paying attention in class. She has always been considered the ‘dreamy’ one with her head in the clouds, but it has all been worth it. Rachel, now, is YA Author of both The Caged Moon Series, and The Prophecy.
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:


2 paperback copies -US only, and 5 e-copies of Lunar Passing by Rachel Deagan.

a Rafflecopter giveaway