Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Sam's Legacy by Shirleen Davies (Excerpt + Giveaway)

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Description


Sam’s Legacy, Book Four, MacLarens of Boundary Mountain
Historical Western Romance Series



Samuel Covington, ex-Pinkerton
agent and deputy in the frontier town of Convictionhas come a
long way from his upbringing in Baltimore. His job, and a particular woman,
occupy his time and thoughts. His future is assured—until a message from home
tears it all apart.



Jinny MacLaren loves the ranch, her family, and one particular deputy. Even though Sam’s never said the words, she’s certain of his feelings, envisioning a future as his wife—until the day he announces he’s leaving without a promise to return.

His future no longer belongs to him. Sam never anticipated the news awaiting him, or the consequences of a past he’d left far behind.

Shoving painful thoughts of Sam aside, Jinny focuses on a life without him, allowing a friendship to grow with someone else. He’s handsome, smart, and caring, yet in Jinny’s heart, he’ll never be Sam. As both face an uncertain future without the other, neither anticipates the dangers stalking them. Protecting what’s his is Sam’s calling. Reclaiming what he left behind may prove to be the biggest challenge of his life.

Sam’s Legacy, book four in the MacLarens of Boundary Mountain historical western Romance Series, is a stand-alone, full-length novel with an HEA and no cliffhanger.

Excerpt

“Jinny, let me explain.” Sam tried to turn her toward him, feeling her resist. “There are reasons I must go.”

She refused to look at him, let him see how much his leaving hurt. She’d been a fool to dream about Sam, hoping someday he’d feel the same. “I’m certain there are, and I respect that you believe you must leave.”

Looking around, he eased her between two buildings, out of the range of prying eyes and ears. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he held steady, even as she twisted to leave.

“Look at me, Jinny.” He waited until she stopped squirming, her reluctant gaze meeting his. “I don’t want to leave. It’s something I have to do. You were the reason I stayed beyond the time I’d agreed to with Brodie.”

Her eyes widened. “I don’t understand. Why must you go now?”

Letting his hands slip from Jinny’s shoulders to stroke her arms, he felt her shiver, his own body tightening. A life with her was what he wanted. He’d thought of little else the last few months, yet it may now be out of his control.

His resolve began to slip as she moved closer, her feelings for him clear on her face. Even as his hands moved to her back, he knew it was a mistake. Drawing her to him, he leaned down, brushing a soft kiss across her lips. Seeing the intensity in her eyes, feeling her hands tighten on his arms, he took her mouth again, letting passion take control.

thrill rushed through him as he realized she knew little of what was happening. He doubted she’d been kissed before, yet her response was immediate. Moving his lips across her jaw, trailing kisses down her neck, he felt a shudder rush through her.

“Sam…”

Her soft plea brought an unwelcome flash of sanity. Placing one more kiss on her lips, he pulled Jinny close, tucking her head below his chin.

“There are things you don’t know about me. I wish it could be different. You know I’d stay if I could.”

Her body stiffened at his whispered words. Moving her hands to his chest, she pushed away. Clearing her throat, Jinny took another step back. “I should go.”

“I’ll walk with you.”

“Nae. It would be better if I go alone.” Taking a few hesitant steps, she stopped. “When will you be leaving?”

His throat worked as he sucked in a slow breath. “As soon as a decision has been made on the prisoners. I can’t leave Brodie with just two deputies.”

“A few days then.” Her voice was devoid of all emotion. “Then I won’t see you again.” She tried to smile, but couldn’t manage it. “I wish you the best, Sam. Always the best.” Without waiting for him to respond, she hurried away, leaving him feeling a loss greater than he’d ever known.

Bio

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Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.  She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.

Author links


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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: The Vulture In Fall by Bekah Clark (Interview + Giveaway)

The Vulture In Fall (Rise of the Hawk #4)
Goodreads Summary: "You must rise...rise to the challenges set before you."

With the threat of violence all around, Maevan must finally meet her destiny. But can she do it alone? Her family is making their way to the Summer Palace, but they face dangers of their own. Trelaren takes his first steps to conquer Aemonsha and he's the most powerful enemy Maevan will ever face.

Granada and Sol must defend the Frozen Fortress. Granada worries that she may not be up to the task. Meanwhile, Kolton faces challenges of his own.

Coran worries over his wife as Meirei faces the dangers ahead while pregnant with their first child. Can they survive the pursuers which threaten their lives?

Grave danger and romance await in the fourth and final installment of the Rise of the Hawk series.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Blitz: Monsters Among Us (Excerpt + Teaser Image + Giveaway)

Monsters Among Us 
Amanda Strong
(Monsters Among Us #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: June 26th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
What if the fate of the world lies with the monster—not the hero?
The world is shifting, and Sammy has complete control. But as hidden truths surface, she starts to doubt everyone who is close to her. The Ancients and Kory have been harboring dark secrets, and it could mean war between the Dragon Fae and the Irukas. With the Defenders as her devoted soldiers, Sam must make some difficult decisions. Should she save the world… or save herself?
Blake won’t give up on Sam. He knows he can’t trust Tonbo anymore, or the web of lies he’s been thrown into. If he hopes to save Sam, he must find the real reason Kory created the bug army. Turns out there could be something far worse than bloodthirsty bugs buriedon the islands, and Blake will have to fight his own inner demons if he wants to save those he loves—including Sam.
In a world filled with mistrust and lies, Blake and Sam must unearth the truth and face their own fears and weaknesses. If they don’t, their lives—and the fate of all humanity—will hang in the balance.
The complete series:

EXCERPT:
Rounding a corner, I flew right into a pair of bright aqua eyes. I knew those eyes, and the recognition felt like a slap to my face. I halted, not just to avoid collision but because of absolute shock.
Impossible. How’s he here?
“Blake,” Mack gasped.
I remained stunned, still hovering inches from his face. Where were all the Defenders? How did he just waltz in? Why wasn’t he bound? I couldn’t process what I was seeing.
Trying to recompose myself in those milliseconds we both remained in a locked gaze, it dawned on me that Jaxon had not rushed his brother. I only heard heavy breathing behind me, and I wanted desperately to turn around to see what Jaxon was doing. Was he preparing for an attack, or was he awaiting my command?
Yet, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from Blake. Those aqua pools pulled me closer, beckoned me nearer even though our faces were mere inches apart. Frustrated, I commanded myself to move. Show some strength. Straighten your back, for heaven’s sake. I’m like a freaking hunchback, practically bowing to him. What’s wrong with me? Back up… now.
I didn’t move. I couldn’t. It was like my bedroom all over again, when I’d found myself moving toward him, longing to be near him against my will. Only this time, it was worse. He was too close, the magnetic pull reinforced by his nearness. I felt helpless against it, which panicked me more.
He didn’t say anything, his eyes raking my face, searching for Sam. But I’m not Sam, I wanted to shout, though I didn’t. I just kept on gazing into his eyes like a dunce.
You’ve got to be joking, Sam. I heard and felt nothing. I know you’re here. You must be, because I’m freaking stuck in place.
Again, there was nothing to betray her presence until I did the unthinkable. I closed the gap and kissed Blake.
I kissed him like my life depended on it, like I couldn’t get enough of his mouth, like he was the only person in the room, never mind the others’ audible gasps. I wrapped my hands around the back of his neck, pulling him to me. Blake seemed just as shocked as I was by my actions. He stiffened at my touch, groaned under my lips, and then, before I could feel remorse, pulled back from me as fast as I’d come at him, untangling himself from my embrace.
There were those eyes again, probing my face, questions forming but not spoken.

Author Bio: Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia, and now New Mexico home. She has loved to spin tales since childhood. It was not uncommon to find her hiding in some random corner, scribbling away in her spiral-bound notebook, with her bright pink glasses. You could say some things have not changed.
Amanda signed with Clean Teen Publishing in the fall of 2013. She is the author of two paranormal, YA series: The Watchers of Men and Monsters Among Us.
The first novel in The Watchers of Men series, The Awakener, debuted in October of 2013. It has been an Amazon number one best seller in three Young Adult categories. Book two, The Holy and The Fallen, released May 12th of 2015. She is currently working on book three, The Watcher’s Mark, releasing spring of 2016.

Hidden Monster released November 4th of 2014, and it finished as a Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Award: Young Adult Category. It is book one of a brand-new young adult, sci-fi thriller series called Monsters Among Us.

When Amanda isn't writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions, you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads Summary:
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review: Laura and Kit once saw an eclipse together; a beautiful moment, but perhaps they would choose to sacrifice it if only to escape the horror of what happened in the aftermath of that eclipse. Dragged into a high profile trial, they will never be the same. Fifteen years later, they're still running from the past. But eventually they will have to face it...

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this book. There were moments I absolutely loved, moments I hated, moments where I doubted my thoughts on the events that occur in this book filled with controversy. Laura and Kit both have truly flawed characters, something which I appreciate, but still hate.

He Said/She Said is a multi-sided, a classic who do you believe? tale. I was jerked from side to side, my opinions changing with the completion of each chapter, each dose of information just another slightly zoomed out but still largely magnified big picture.

The characters? Masterfully crafted. That doesn't mean I didn't hate every single one of them at one point or another. In fact, I can almost believe that Erin Kelly actually made them this way on purpose! No character in He Said/She Said is faultless for though they may seem like so at the beginning, this assumption is quickly proven to be just that.

An excellent story with detail, lots of character development and plot twists, what could be missing? Oops, I forgot to mention the sometimes scarce (or nonexistent) action. Action is an important element in my opinion, and it just didn't meet my expectations. Time in the book could've progressed faster and perhaps produced more action but it's only a matter of opinion. Erin Kelly has created a wonderful, complex tale about a young girl struggling to come to terms with what has happened to her.
Purchase Location: ~I received a copy from Hachette NZ and willingly reviewed it~
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of mystery thrillers and psychopaths.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

TV Review: Riverdale Season One

Title: Riverdale (Season One)
IMDB Summary: A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale's wholesome facade.
Review: The town of Riverdale has many mysteries. The most recent of these: the disappearance of Jason Blossom. Police search for all clues as to who abducted Jason and whether or not he was murdered.

Riverdale starts off at a high point, with high tension as viewers scrabble to guess who did it. A few episodes in, and the drama slows to a tiny trickle, the focus on relationships rather than mystery. Further down the track it does get better, mystery once again the focal point. To end the season it's one mystery closed, two opened.

Excitement doesn't stay for the whole season, disappearing and reappearing throughout but I suppose it isn't really possible to make every moment interesting. Overall Riverdale's first season has provided a great introduction to the drama that I now know can easily be generated.
IMDB Page

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (67)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Books:

Mission Atomic by Sarwat Chadda
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

TV/Movies:

Pretty Little Liars S7 Ep19
Gossip Girl S4 Ep15-18
Shadowhunters S2 Ep13

Friday, June 23, 2017

Male stereotypes in books (Forum Friday #10)

In modern day society, men are expected to be "strong". This stereotype seems to imply that they cannot be 'weak' or express their emotions. After seeing many videos about this on my Facebook feed, I thought of this question:

What stereotypes are applied to male book characters?

I hope, for one, that the answer to this question is a little more positive than the answer I posed above about the modern world. Healthguidance.org has an article detailing some gender stereotypes, and male stereotypes specified:


  1. All men enjoy working on cars
  2. Men are not nurses, they are doctors
  3. Men do "dirty jobs" such as construction and mechanics; they are not secretaries, teachers, or cosmetologists
  4. Men do not do housework and they are not responsible for taking care of children
  5. Men play video games
  6. Men play sports
  7. Men enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking
  8. Men are in charge; they are always at the top
  9. As husbands, men tell their wives what to do
  10. Men are lazy and/or messy
  11. Men are good at math
  12. It is always men who work in science, engineering, and other technical fields
  13. Men do not cook, sew, or do crafts
Just think about it, these stereotypes are true for many people you know in real life, are they not? And how does this apply in a book situation? It has a larger effect than you probably know of.

New Republic says: "Why do we give books to children? Common answers [include use] of words like “expand”, “open”, “[broaden]”,“[minds]”, “hearts”, “horizons” or “imaginations”. Sad then, [many children's books] do [the opposite by peddling] stereotypes, [closing] minds to new experiences and [offering] limited horizons." They suggest that children's books are full of stereotypes, and I feel inclined to agree. Even with my beloved young adult books, there isn't enough diversity. In my experience, I often come across strong, arrogant males and predominantly white characters. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate young adult books, I most certainly do! But I believe there could be more range and diversity.

The Guardian says: "males are central characters in 57% of children's books published each year, with just 31% having female central characters" after a study of almost 6,000 children's books published between 1900 and 2000 found these statistics (study led by Janice McCabe, a professor of sociology at Florida State University). 

I chose to focus on male stereotypes for this post because I've recently seen quite a few Facebook videos highlighting how these stereotypes affect young boys' lives. One of the most beautiful things I see in young adult books is when a tough character breaks down and cries. I think there should be more of this in literature. There is a quote which I've seen many times over the internet which I believe sums this up perfectly: “People cry, not because they are weak. It is because they've been strong for too long.” – Johnny Depp.

I leave you here! What do you think about stereotypes?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Scandal by Athena Grayson (Top Ten List + Excerpt + Giveaway)

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This is my stop during the blog tour for Scandal by Athena Grayson. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here.

ScandalScandal (Scions of the Star Empire #1) by Athena Grayson
Genre: Sci-fi dystopian with romantic elements
Age category: New Adult/ Adult
Release Date: 23 March 2017
Blurb: They can have anything they want...except a future.
Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis--gossip journalist Jaris Pulne--is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who's no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.

For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father's shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion--and freedom from his father's ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse--force them together before their time.

Damage control turns into danger when their attempts to retrieve the images lead them both into the dark underbelly of the glittering city-planet, exposing secrets of both friends and foes that could lead to more than just social suicide.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Something Beautiful (Excerpt + Giveaway)



Something Beautiful
Amanda Gernentz Hanson
Published by: Pen Name Publishing
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.
However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.
EXCERPT:
Chapter 1—Now

October 2014
“Fresh off of her book tour, I have here an advocate who is actively involved in fighting inequality in her daily life. I give you, Cordelia Quinn!” The rally organizer steps aside, and I can finally see the crowd. I wave, and the rally organizer gives me a dazzling smile before she continues. “Cordelia Quinn is the bestselling author of The Yellow Wood, a coming-of-age story about a boy and a girl who are best friends as children but choose different paths as adults and then come together later in life. She is also an award-winning screenwriter and one of the most outspoken LGBTQ allies in publishing. Please join me in welcoming her to the podium!” The crowd breaks into thunderous applause that echoes through the cold air, and a smile pulls at the corners of my mouth.
I can’t lie—I’m nervous. I’m not good at hiding my emotions, so I’m afraid that people might be able to tell. I hate crowds, and I hate public speaking. I’ve managed to avoid it ever since I spoke at high school graduation.
“Hello, Topeka,” I begin. My voice is shaking. God, I hope no one notices.
The crowd is rumbling below me, waiting for me to say something good. I’m not even sure I have anything good to say. I’m so bad at this. But I’ve learned that being honest is usually the best way to go, so I decide to veer away from my prepared speech and try for candor.
“I’m going to admit something to you,” I say, gripping the sides of the podium to keep my hands from trembling. I can’t be trusted to hold papers or they’ll be shaking so much that I can’t read them. “I’m not a fan of public speaking, and I don’t usually speak at rallies like this one. But this issue… it’s really important to me. Those of you who have read my book know that. So, when my publicist asked me to come here and talk to you, I couldn’t really turn her down.”
The crowd cheers, and I smile and take a deep breath. With each breath, I feel more at ease, more comfortable speaking up here in front of everyone. I close my eyes for a second, trying to center myself. I see my children’s faces, and my grin widens.
“Honestly, I don’t have a lot to say,” I continue, gaining confidence. “I believe in equality. I believe in love. And I believe that the government should not tell us who we are allowed to love and marry.” At this, all I can think about are the people I left at home—the people who I love, the person I married. I’m lucky. I’ve never had to fight for those rights. “The politicians who are fighting against marriage equality are all active in their conservative churches—well, ladies and gentlemen, I find two issues with that. First, this country was founded on the separation of church and state—it’s in the First Amendment of the Constitution. What ever happened to that?”
I’m on a roll now. My hands have stopped shaking and everything.
“And second, marriage isn’t just about love. Anyone who has made that kind of commitment to someone can tell you that. There are legal rights that come with marriage that should be available to everyone, no matter who they love!”
I can’t help it. I start looking for him. He’s here. I can feel it.
And then I see him, and my face breaks open into the giddy sort of smile I wish I could contain. I knew he’d come. We’ve been apart for weeks now while I’ve been on my book tour, and I’ve missed him so much. Almost as much as I’ve missed the kids. God, I wish they were here with me.
As I make eye contact with him, an idea strikes. I decide to roll with it. “I’m very pleased to tell you that the person who inspired my book is with us tonight. I’d like to call him up here, so that you can meet the first man I ever loved—Declan MacLeod. Come up here, Dec!”
People turn to look at him as he shakes his head and starts moving toward me. I can nearly feel my body vibrating. I can’t wait to be next to him again, to feel his warm hand in mine. My smile is so big it feels like it’s going to split my face in two.
“I’m going to kill you,” he whispers in my ear as he wraps his arms around me. I want him to hold me forever, to never let go of me, to keep me safe and warm wrapped in his strong arms. But we’re in front of all of these people. He has to let go.
“No, you’re not,” I murmur back. “You’re better at this stuff than I am. Tell them something. Anything.” He starts chewing on his bottom lip as he thinks, and I throw him a sharp look. I’ve been on him about that since high school, but he always slips back into the old habit when we’re apart.
He makes his way to the podium and clears his throat. “Hello,” he starts as he waves at the crowd. “I had no idea that I was going to be speaking here tonight, so I apologize if what I say doesn’t make any sense.” He takes a deep breath and glances back at me. “As Cordelia mentioned, I’m Declan MacLeod. I grew up across the street from her in Hamden, Connecticut. Now, I spend most of my time in New York, performing on Broadway.”

The crowd is hypnotized, and I don’t blame them. I’ve been told that, together, Dec and I are hypnotic. We have an energy. I’m not sure I agree—I think he’s the one who radiates energy and charisma, whose skin feels electrifying, no matter how many times I touch it.
As I watch him look out into the crowd, I know one thing—he’s everything. He’s my reason, my why. He’s it for me. I’d be nothing without him.


Author Bio: Amanda Gernentz Hanson has been writing stories since the third grade, when she entered a five-page story about talking dogs into a local youth arts contest. She is an instructional designer by day and an everything else by night. Amanda is a proud Latina who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Hope College and her Master’s degree in Technical Communication from Minnesota State University. You can find her on the internet at browneyedtwentysomething.com, diverseladybookproject.tumblr.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @amandamariegh. If you see her in the wild, she probably has a book in her purse.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Blitz: All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer (Giveaway)

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This is my stop during the book blitz for All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 19 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here.

All That GlittersAll That Glitters (All That #1) by Tracy Krimmer
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction
Age category: Adult
Release Date: Summer 2017
Blurb: Country-music star, Dory Walker, never wanted to come back to the small town of Sycamore Bay. But after her fairy-tale life is flipped upside down, and her marriage becomes a casualty, she has no choice.
Harris Malone is a man with few commitments. He keeps a low profile most days while he cares for his young daughter and helps run his dad’s hardware store.

But when he and Dory run into each other at the local gas station, all either can think about is the searing kiss they shared many years ago.

Can a woman who only wants to rekindle her career and a man who enjoys a no-strings attached lifestyle find everlasting love?
You can find All That Glitters on Goodreads

You can buy All That Glitters here.

Tracy KrimmerAbout the Author: Tracy's love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She's been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her loves include fitness, reading, coffee, dogs, and naps (not in that order), and her dislikes are blue cheese, cold weather, and burpees.

You can find and contact Tracy here:

- Website
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Bookbub
- Instagram
- Newsletter

Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of All That Glitters. One winner will win a $10 Amazon gift card!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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Monday, June 19, 2017

ARC Review: Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis

Keeping Kyler (The Kennedy Boys #3) by Siobhan Davis
Goodreads Summary: The captivating third book in the Kennedy Boys series concludes Faye and Kyler's love story.

Nothing or no one will keep them apart…

Kyler Kennedy is in the wind.

Shocked and upset, he has taken off on a solo mission—to track down his mom’s ex and demand answers.

Faye understands what it’s like to have your world turned upside down. Determined to support her boyfriend, she gives chase, yet nothing could prepare her for the ugly truth. Ky has always been plagued with inner demons, and as he falls apart, Faye finally discovers what he’s been hiding from her—from everyone.

When serious accusations arise, Kyler’s future hangs in the balance. But Kennedys stick together in times of crisis, and they rally around him now.

At least there is nothing to prevent Faye and Ky from being together. They go public with their relationship, but not everyone is thrilled for them. Bitter enemies reappear, and fresh battle lines are drawn, but Faye is ready to fight back.

No one is taking her new family from her.

Especially not a manipulative ex.

With time running out for Kyler, Faye takes matters into her own hands.

But when you play with fire, you risk getting burned.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: "Why does it take the threat of loving someone to make you appreciate them the way you should?"


Set directly after the events of Losing Kyler, Keeping Kyler sees Faye and Kalvin teaming up to find Ky. Told from the dual perspectives of Kyler and Faye, this style creates an interesting contrast. The Kennedy family aren't in the clear yet, with many enemies still out to get them. A combination of mystery, romance and intrigue, Keeping Kyler won't disappoint.

"Your scars, your flaws, your fears, your pain - they're mine too."

Faye and Kyler have both endured so much, but it doesn't stop now. They still have many challenges to get through and must rely on each other to surpass the pain. Trauma has tainted them both, but they are survivors through and through. Step by step, they build foundations of trust with those around them and walk down the long road of recovery hand in hand.

"I feel like I'm breathing for the first time in years."

At one stage there is a momentary pause in the avalnche of discord, a reprieve as the Kennedys relax and begin normal habits again. But soon we are reminded that the story isn't over yet, and there's more to come. A murder, arrests, past revelations... All will be revealed at a cost not all may be willing to pay.

"He's here. He's alive. He's mine. He's all I'll ever want. All I'll ever need."

Faye and Kyler are more in the spotlight, their relationship a welcome change from all the drama. They've both grown so much since they first met and I love the development each has received from Siobhan Davis. Keeping Kyler concludes Faye and Kyler's story peacefully as justice is finally served. The Kennedy Boys is a scandalous kiss you want to pretend never happened but can't stop thinking about.
Purchase Location: ~I received a copy from the author and willingly reviewed it~
Edition:
 e-ARC
Buy the book:
Amazon
Recommended for: Fans of NA Contemporary Romance.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Book Blitz: Rise (Excerpt + Teaser Image + Giveaway)



Rise
Sierra Cross
(Coven of Fire, #1)
Publication date: June 15th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
I closed the door on magic long ago…the day it made me an orphan.
Ten years ago, the Coven of Fire sacrificed their lives—my mother among them—to hold off an overwhelming demonic force. Now it’s back.
As a poorly-paid bartender, how can any of this be my problem? But Callie, another orphan of that battle, swears I’m the key to reviving the coven. And there’s an incredibly sexy guardian stranded on my couch who’s promising to help me stop the demons and keep the veil between the realms standing.
One problem: I’ve never been able to use magic. Our local bad boy warlock assures me I have the talent, but even if I did, we don’t have enough witches to complete a coven. The only way to survive is to pull together this pack of magicborn misfits, who have more secrets than spells, into a makeshift coven.
Can we—three untrained witches, a sarcastic warlock, and an overly intense guardian—take back the city…before the demongate falls and the forces that killed my mother destroy us too?
EXCERPT:
Startled, I flailed backward. Losing my grip on all six bottles. With a sickening crash they toppled to the stone floor, exploding on impact. The crisp smell of alcohol punctured the dank air.
My heart was still thundering, but I saw no one. “Who’s there?” I demanded.
A figure came into view. Not like he stepped out of the shadows…more like he materialized in front of me. Tall. Powerfully built. With short brown hair and a lean angular face covered in bruises and bloody scrapes. I could have drawn that rugged face, and all its battle scars, from memory.
I forced myself to look into his dark, knowing eyes. The eyes that I’d once allowed to see into my deepest grief. “Matt?” My voice came out higher, younger than I expected. “I didn’t think you were ever coming back.”
“Alexandra…kid, we need to talk.” Matt’s gravelly voice—a voice I hadn’t heard since I was fourteen years old—was low and serious. “I’ve waited over a year for you to come down here. Don’t know how much longer I can hold this form. So listen and don’t interrupt.”
I’d almost forgotten how bossy Matt could be for a ghost. Well, ethereal being anyway. Despite his torn T-shirt and jeans, he had a palpable air of authority, like some kind of rogue commando. The impatient blaze in his eyes would be intimidating, if I didn’t know him. Actually, it still was. But as blown away as I was to see him again, my life had changed since the last time he’d paid me an astral visit. Since then, I’d learned that I had no business interacting with supernatural beings.
“I’m not a kid anymore, Matt,” I said, as firmly as I could. “And I’m not part of your world. Look…you helped me back then, I’ll always be grateful. But I think it would be best if you left now.”
“That’s because you don’t have all the information yet.” He folded his muscular arms, which looked so real and powerful I had to remind myself that they, like the rest of his strapping body, weren’t physically here in the room but in another realm entirely. “Once you’re up to speed on the magical dangers facing our city—”
“Thanks, but I have enough problems to deal with. You know, in the real world.” I couldn’t bring myself to tell Matt that I’d been officially declared magically deficient. Not when he’d always referred to me as “the next coven leader,” after my mother. Instead, I glanced at the shards at my feet and shook my head in despair. Randy was definitely going to make me pay for these broken vodka bottles. Just add it to my tab. “Sorry, but you need to leave me alone, so I can deal with this, okay?”
I started upstairs to get the broom…but didn’t make it past the third step before his form appeared again on the next highest step. Inches between us.
“You have no idea what your real problems are, Alexandra.”
I froze.
Walk right through him, I told myself. You’ve done it before. But Matt’s chiseled face, swathed in desperation, held my full attention. Something had changed there since I last saw him—startling, given that he was incorporeal. In the last ten years, he hadn’t aged one hour. Funny, how I used to think of him as an older guy. Now he looked about my age. The dark purple bruises flowering along his square jaw hadn’t healed. Nor had the bloody gash down his pillowy lower lip—the one part of him that looked incongruously boyish. It was his eyes that had changed.
“I need your help, Alexandra.” His dark eyes, once warm and charming, burned with an urgency that put fear into my heart. “Please.”


Author Bio:
Spells and skyscrapers. Warriors and warlocks. Coven secrets and forbidden romances. Sierra Cross lives for urban fantasy, for modern magic and the bold supernatural beings who stalk our contemporary world. Her Spelldrift universe stars kickass witches and their heroic guardians, as well as vampires, shifters, mages, Fidei, and the dark demonic forces that threaten them all.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (66)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Books:

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

TV/Movies:

Pretty Little Liars S7 Ep18
Gossip Girl S4 Ep9-14
Shadowhunters S2 Ep12

Review Copy Arrived:

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

Friday, June 16, 2017

Utopia or Dystopia? (Forum Friday #9)

This debate came up in my english class awhile back, and I thought, why not bring it to the bookish community? Surprisingly, the class was actually quite responsive with this question and many brought forth their own viewpoints, many of which were not what I expected.

Utopia or Dystopia?

I'll admit, I'm not a believer in Utopia. Dystopia though, certainly. For isn't Dystopia just a "failed" attempt at Utopia? Perhaps I focus on negatives too much?

I'd like to know what you think. Can Utopia exist?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Blitz: Grand Finale: Girl in the Spotlight by Virginia McCullough (Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.


Book Tour Grand Finale for
Girl in the Spotlight
By Virginia McCullough


We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below...






Launch - Author Interview


If you could sum the book up in one sentence, what would you say?



Lark McGee and Miles Jenkins shared the painful experience of giving up a child, but without fanfare or effort they’re given a path to see their daughter, and if they have the courage, to grab their second chance with each other.



Katie's Clean Book Collection - Who are Lark and Miles?


When Miles and Lark met as college students both confided their big career dreams. It was such a

pleasure to portray a guy who early in life chose to become a professional speaker/consultant. I’m

familiar with that life, so I know how much time speakers spend in airports and hotel rooms, with phones and laptops as their only companions.





"I so loved this story and I was pulling for Miles and Lark to not only get to meet their daughter, but to realize they were meant to be together. This is a heartwarming tale of love almost lost but found again. I highly recommend Girl In The Spotlight."


Book Lover in Florida - Love Those Second Chances




What would life be without second chances? Pretty bleak, I’d say. I think most of us fall in love with second chance stories. And why not? It’s a universal theme in many ways, because all our lives we identify with the longing for second chances. People joke about Zog and Grog sitting around “the cave” or the campfire telling stories, but for as long as humans have been on the planet, we’ve be inspired by stories. Whether a particular story involves popular culture, folklore, or religion, the “plots” likely offers the characters second chances.





"Girl in the Spotlight by Virginia McCullough puts you right in the audience, sitting high up in the arena seating, experiencing the skating competitions along with the fictional spectators. You’ll hold your breath for every axel and lutz and salchow, and you’ll easily be able to picture the sparkling costumes and the ‘kiss-n-cry’ bench as we all wait for the scores. Though the pace is slow in some places and the story overall is light on romance, you’ll be emotionally invested in this compelling story from the very first chapter!"





Perrie Lynn skated to the center of the ice, and after one last quick pivot, she assumed her starting position in the center of the ice and the melody of Moonlight Sonata began.
Lark’s tears flowed freely. Miraculously, though, after the first couple of jumps her tears stopped. Along with all sense of time and any focus on technical elements. She lost herself in Perrie Lynn’s graceful journey across the ice and the triple jumps that brought outbreaks of applause. Maybe it was the lightness of her arm movements that enchanted Lark the most. No, the extension of her dramatic arabesques captured Lark’s attention.

When Perrie Lynn finished her final spin, Lark let her head drop against Miles’ shoulder. “Thank you for this.”






"Girl in the Spotlight was well written and the words flowed perfectly. I enjoyed getting to know Miles and Lark as well as there children. . . . The book was enjoyable, the characters truly loved the daughter they had been unable to watch grow. "



Becky on Books - Excerpt


Detecting an edge of apprehension in her voice, he said, “Oh, Lark, it’s nothing bad. No need to worry.” He put his hand on his chest, hoping to slow the pounding of his heart. “It’s just that I believe it’s possible, not a certainty, but possible, our—our child, our daughter…is a figure skater. Sort of a rising star.”

A sharp intake of air. Then silence.






"I really enjoyed reading this book. It has a really sweet story that could very well be a true story. It is very real. . . . I would recommend this book to other readers. It is a clean sweet story. I enjoyed it very much."



Mel's Shelves - Hope and Healing Come First


Whenever I’m asked about the broad themes of my novels, I quickly respond, “Hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.” GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT is no different. Lark and Miles earn their second chance in stages starting with hope. Lark never stopped hoping that one day she will learn what happened to the child she gave up, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll be give a chance to meet her. Miles hopes Lark will forgive him for not stepping up when they were young and faced with such a life-changing decision. It’s his biggest regret.





"I really felt like this was two books in one – love story meets long lost child story. It had the perfect balance of both stories – neither one dominated the other. This is the first time I have read a book by Virginia McCullough, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve heard from others that I would not be disappointed, and they were right! She has a charming way of telling a story that will tug at your emotions, yet leave you with a smile."



Harlie's Books - Excerpt


Lark could probably calculate the exact number of days and hours that had passed since she’d murmured reassuring words to the tiny bundle in her arms. I’m so sorry, but it’s for the best, little one. She’d stared at the perfect little face one last time and drew her closer to her heart. I promise you’ll have a good life with people who will love you so, so much. They can give you what I could never hope to. A family.



It's All About the Romance - Let’s Go to the Movies! What are Your Favorite Second Chance Movies? 


So many all-time favorite movies have a second chance theme. Maybe this is why big fans have watched them multiple times. Here are a few of my favorites.




AMUSED BY HOW proud he was that he’d asked Lark out on a real date, Miles’s heart raced. Even his hands were clammy, like a teenager who knew that his date wasn’t just any girl. She was special. At some point, maybe after watching Perrie Lynn skate live for the first time, Miles was hit by how fast the weekend had passed. He’d wished he could have slowed it down, made it last.






“The girl is a beautiful skater,” Andi said. “From the flash I saw, you and Lark seemed like quite a couple, huddled together, all smiles. Is there something you’re not telling me? And what about Perrie Lynn’s mother? I heard she’s sick.”



I Am A Reader - What Do we Know about Perrie Lynn?


A couple of my reader-writer friends have remarked about Perrie Lynn being so vibrant and real, even though she’s not “on stage” in the book. One friend said she found herself tense waiting for Perrie Lynn’s performance scores—just like the minutes of waiting during televised competitions! I like that—as far as I’m concerned, Perrie Lynn is out there living her life. So, even seeing her from afar, what do we know about her?





The kiss. It was all she’d thought about the last two days. She sat on her couch in the TV room with her feet tucked under her, warm in heavy wool socks. Her open tablet sat balanced on her lap. How delicious to be held in his arms. She shook her head—again—to concentrate on the article displayed on the screen. Normally, a piece on rare and virulent viruses captured her attention. Dawn even teased her about her fascination with medical research. But not that evening.





"The meaning of a second chance is personified in Virginia McCullough’s debut Harlequin Heartwarming novel! . . . The characters are well developed, their story is well thought out and leads us into the turmoil they are feeling from the first chapter. Ideally I would have wanted the ending to happen earlier in the book so we could have seen a little more of what happened after such a build-up, but overall, a great read and a satisfying resolution!"



Sylv.net - Excerpt


“You can leave now, Lyle. I think you’ve done enough damage for one night.” She moved alongside Evan in the small space by the front door. Showing her alignment with her son was the only way to contain her rage at her ex-husband.



And don't forget to enter the giveaway below...


Girl in the Spotlight

by Virginia McCullough

Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

June 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming


The daughter they never knew



When Miles Jenkins sees the graceful young figure skater on TV, he can't believe how much she resembles Lark McGee, the girl he dated briefly in college. Could this aspiring star be the child Lark gave up for adoption eighteen years ago? He has to find out.



Locating Lark ignites conflicting emotions in Miles—including regrets for what might have been and romantic feelings that take the two single parents by surprise. As they prepare to meet their daughter, this deeper connection between the two just might be the chance at love they never got.



Advanced Praise



Mesmerized
by the real world of characters--brought to life beautifully, I found myself
entranced by this thoughtful, delightful, sad, and joyous, novel about second
chances and all forms of love. The situation, characters, and consequences left
me shedding happy tears at the ending.
 — Casey Clifford, award-winning author

A compelling love story crafted with characters you'll fall
in love with. Miles and Lark's journey to be reunited with their child captured
my heart, as did their blossoming romance. The best book I have read this year!
—Lily Silver, author of Dark
Hero

McCullough
is always adept at creating suspense on multiple levels. In
Girl in the Spotlight,
the intrigue builds from page one and doesn’t let up until the end. But she
understands that readers need relief from tension, and through her masterful
storytelling and perfect pacing, McCullough delivers satisfying outcomes along
that way. The relationships she’s developed are complex and realistic, and
their evolution is deeply satisfying.
— Lynda McDaniel, author of A Life for a Life

Girl in
the Spotlight
 swept me away to Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore and reminded me of
loves left behind. McCullough invokes deep emotions through her writing, which
will pull at your heart. More than a romantic love story, it is a love story of
parents for their children. A must read." 
— Anne Parent,
author/reviewer


About the Author


A writer all her adult life, Virginia McCullough has had the opportunity to write the stories of her heart in her novels, including Girl in the Spotlight, the first book in her Two Moon Bay series for Harlequin Heartwarming. (Book 2 is scheduled for release in January 2018). Her award-winning romance and women’s fiction titles include The Jacks of Her Heart, Amber Light, Greta’s Grace, The Chapels on the Hill, and Island Healing.

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

Tour Giveaway



1st Prize (US only): Tea & Contemplation, a collection of favorite things, starts with an uplifting message from “Seize the Day” Pop Open Cards. Fill a ceramic thermal mug to sip Lavender Chamomile Tea while you contemplate your ideas and dreams. Write your thoughts in a journal, whose guiding words are: When Your Heart Speaks... take good notes! A Wish pen is included. Finally, pick a place to display a large piece of gemmy rose quartz, a stone long linked to matters of the heart. It’s said when rose quartz is nearby, love (of all kinds) comes along to keep it company. These items will be arranged in a “keeper box” and delivered to your door.


2nd Prize (open internationally): You will receive a $35.00 Amazon eGift Card, and a digital copy of GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT, plus one digital copy of another of Virginia’s five award-winning novels—it’s your choice.


Ends June 16th



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Blog Tour: Thorn's Journey (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Description:
Welcome to Burnt River, a new series of Contemporary Western Romance stories set in the fictional town of Burnt River, Montana. Brought to you by Shirleen Davies, Peggy L Henderson, Kay P. Dawson, Tristi Pinkston, and Kate Cambridge.
Thorn’s Journey, Book Two, Burnt River Contemporary Western Romance Series, by Shirleen Davies.
Thornton “Thorn” Macklin, ex-Special Forces sergeanthas returned home to focus on his future. Scorpion Custom Motorcycles is one of the two dreams he pushed aside when he left Burnt River. The second dream? Well, it died long ago.
Grace Jackson works hard to be successful, trying to forget the one great mistake from her past. Returning to Burnt River to work for the family business forces her to confront her future—as well as the man who shattered her heart.
Being close to his brothers, helping at the ranch, and working with lifelong friends is exactly what Thorn needs. The last person he expects to see is the woman who vanished from his life without a
word. Now she sits in her plush office down the street, resurrecting emotions, as well as memories he’d buried long ago.
Not only must he confront his feelings for Grace, he and his friends face another danger. Someone wants their new business to fail, and isn’t above putting people at risk to achieve this goal.
Guarding against threats is what Thorn does best. Protecting his heart from the woman he’s never forgotten is another matter.
Could coming home, and the hope of a second chance, be his ultimate journey?
Thorn’s Journey, book two in the Burnt River Contemporary Western Romance Series, is a full-length novel with an HEA and no cliffhanger.

Excerpt:
“Mind if I join you?”

She jumped, startled at the familiar voice. Twisting around, she saw Thorn a few feet away, a bag from Evie’s in his hand. Pushing aside the lump in her throat, she gestured to the other side of the table. “Go ahead.” Picking up her drink, Grace did her best to ignore him and the butterflies now lodged in her stomach.

Unwrapping his sandwich, Thorn couldn’t seem to move his gaze away from Grace, studying
her features for signs of the girl he once loved. Taking a bite, he chewed slowly, making her squirm under his intense gaze.

“Did you follow me?” She took another bite, but the sandwich now tasted more like cardboard than chicken salad.

“Nope.”

She looked around, expecting to see Josh and Tony walk up any minute. Grabbing her drink, she took a long sip, deciding the best way to deal with him being so close was to talk.

“I eat here all the time. Two or three times a week, in fact. Sometimes there are families with children, but most days, it’s quiet, like today. I’ve even brought my fishing rod a few times, although I’ve yet to catch anything. Seems the older I get, the less luck I have. I…” Her voice faded when she saw Thorn raise his hand.

“Do I make you nervous?” He wadded up the sandwich paper, easily tossing it into a can several feet away.

Grace crossed her arms, scowling at him. “Of course you don’t make me nervous.”

He mimicked her behavior, crossing his arms, although his lips turned up at the corners. “Then why are you babbling? I don’t remember you being so chatty.” Some perverse pleasure washed over him when he saw her face redden, her eyes going wide.

“It’s called small talk, Thorn. It’s what people do when they’re trying to break the ice, be sociable. You should try it sometime.”

He studied her a moment, his gaze hooded. “I’ve seen you naked, Grace. Several times. Do you really think small talk is necessary?”

Without an inkling of warning, she picked up her cup and threw the contents at him. Shock came in an instant, followed by disbelief, then a sputtering laugh as he stood, letting the liquid sluice off him.

Grabbing her trash, she tossed it into the can, then picked up her purse. “You’re such a
jerk, Thorn. I don’t know how I ever loved you. Leaving here was the best decision I ever made.” Her stomach twisted when his smile disappeared, replaced with something she couldn’t quite define.

Standing, Thorn stepped beside her, leaning down to whisper in her ear. “You’re right. My love would never have been enough for you. I’m all the things your father thought—and worse.” Straightening, he adjusted his sunglasses and strode away, not bothering to check her reaction. If he had, he’d have seen the indignation of a moment before replaced with grief and regret, tears welling in her eyes at the love they’d lost and the pain that replaced it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBio: Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.
She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.

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