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New Adult Book Review – Lennon’s Jinx (Lennon’s Girls No. 1) by Chris Myers

Lennon's Jinx (Lennon's Girls #1) by Chris Myers

Lennon’s Jinx (Lennon’s Girls #1) by Chris Myers

Synopsis
Sometimes in love, you don’t get to choose who you fall for…

Lennon spends most of his time raising his sister Currie while skating through his senior year of high school. He prefers groupies with no-strings attached but finds himself attracted to Jinx, the straight-A student in his choir—a girl way out of his league.

Jinx is not the perfect person her classmates think she is. She conceals the black truth about herself, even from her friends. She won’t admit to them that she screwed up big time, losing what she once held most precious.

Neither Jinx nor Lennon trusts the opposite sex. When she joins Lennon’s band, she discovers that he is not the bad boy every girl thinks he is and that he just might be the one.

My Review
After reading Lennon’s Hope, I went back to start with the first book in the series and I’m so glad I did. I loved getting to know the characters better and understand them more through the book that introduced them. Lennon tries to be this womanizing, bad-boy rocker type, but it quickly becomes clear he’s deeply wounded and uses sex as diversion from his life. His parents are absent at best, completely apathetic at other times. And he never lies to girls. They all know what they’re getting, and more importantly what they’re not getting — a relationship. It’s hard not to feel for the broken boy beneath the image.

The one girl Lennon will do anything for is his nine-year-old sister, Currie, and she is his saving grace. He sacrifice his own needs, putting her first. Always. Even when that means giving up coffee, meat, and even sex when Currie demands it. She keeps him human and relatable.

Jinx is equally damaged, but for other reasons. The two of them seem to find a kinship in each other. Whether or not it turns into something more is what the story is about.

Plot
This is a solid plot for a new adult romance. It’s really upper young adult as the characters are still in high school, but because of the subject matter and language, it probably better fits into the NA category.

First, there’s Lennon’s character development as he goes from bad boy to someone Jinx might be interested in. Then there’s Jinx dealing with her stepfather/ rapist, Currie’s best friend and next door neighbor, Zoe, who is suffering from cancer, Lennon’s band and their future, and his relationship with his deadbeat parents. It’s a lot, and yet Chris Myers manages to weave it all together flawlessly so that never feels too busy or becomes overwhelming. Several interesting twists and turns kept me on my toes.

Characters
The characters are the best part of this book. They are complex individuals with a lot of issues to deal with. Lennon is extremely authentic and I feel like I really get him. He’s hard not to like, despite all of his many flaws.

Jinx took me longer to connect with. She’s standoffish by nature and her personal demons don’t make her any more warm and fuzzy. But as she grows to appreciate Lennon for who he is, some of her walls start to crumble a little and she becomes more likeable.

The supporting cast, particularly Currie, Zoe, and Lennon’s band mates, are all very well-rounded characters that are deeply developed and compliment the plot and Jinx’s and Lennon’s development. The dialogue is crisp and true to older teens.

Bottom Line
Lennon’s Jinx is a compelling story that goes beyond the typical young adult or even new adult romance. The writing is crips and the angst is palpable. Because of the subject matter and language, I wouldn’t recommend it for teen readers under 16.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Lennon’s Jinx
Series: Lennon’s Girls #1
Author: Chris Myers
Publisher: Books on the Edge
Release Date: December 30, 2013
Pages: 220
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author Chris MyersAbout the Author
Chris Myers spends most of her free time writing and dreaming up new characters who fight each other for page time. She is an award-winning author and lives in Colorado with her daughter, her better half, and her Bichon BeBe. Her work has appeared in the NewsMag and has earned several awards including first place Paul Gillette, Colorado Gold finalist, and semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

She has taught writing workshops for conferences, PPW, and Delve Writing and was an adjunct professor at CSU. Chris is a member of SCBWI and Pikes Peak Writers. She earned a Masters from the University of South Florida. Look for her series RIPSTERS, a Young Adult, paranormal/mystery with the spark of romance, starting with DATE WITH THE DEAD.

Where to Find Chris Myers
Goodreads | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

Young Adult Book Review – The Senior Superlative by Jennifer D.

The Senior Superlative by Jennifer DiGiovanni

The Senior Superlative by Jennifer DiGiovanni

Synopsis
As the final semester of senior year begins, the much anticipated Senior Superlative votes are revealed to the students at Harmony High. When Sadie discovers she’s been voted “Most Likely to Get Married” to Andy – a boy she’s never dated or even considered as a potential boyfriend – she assumes that she’s become the victim of a cruel joke.

Yet, the harder Sadie works to show everyone she’s not the least bit attracted to Andy, the more appealing he becomes. As senioritis kicks in and the school year dwindles down to mere weeks, Sadie realizes that proving the Senior Superlative vote was meaningless just might ruin her chance for true love.

My Review
This is such an entertaining story, with charming characters, witty dialogue and fresh plot. Sadie and Jana want to end their high school years with a bang, and realize rather late into their senior year, they haven’t really done much to leave their mark on Harmony High. Two self-described list-a-holics set out to complete the ultimate list of accomplishments before graduation.

Their attempts to letter in a sport, star in the school play, and break a school rule land them in amusing situations. And on top of all of it is the danged Senior Superlatives where Sadie, much to her horror, has been voted most likely to marry uber-geek, Andrew Kosolowski. As Sadie tries to prove the voters wrong, that she and Andy are definitely not couple material, she discovers a side of Andy she never noticed before. However, her drive to check off another item on her list could end up ruining the one accomplishment she wants the most.

Plot
Jennifer D. has written a solid plot that is humorous, sometimes wacky, and just plain fun. I love how Sadie’s top ten lists are sprinkled throughout the book — everything from how annoying Andy is, to how to kill time in detention. The story is peppered with laugh-out-loud moments as Sadie and Jana work their way through their list, revising, refining, and failing, but never giving up.

Characters
Jennifer D. has a knack for creating wildly original teen characters that somehow manage to deliver their lines with both grace and snark. Sadie is loveably antagonistic, Jana is hopeful and spirited. And Andy is adorkably sweet, but that doesn’t mean he’s a pushover. The rest of the characters are distinct, each with their own voice and quirks.

Bottom Line
A refreshing high school love story with charm, humor, and oh, those lists. Here are my top ten reasons to love The Senior Superlative:
1. A hot guy with an even hotter sports car
2. Swoon-worthy kissing scenes
3. Sadie’s unique view on life and the world around her
4. The Super K’s
5. A dancing man-eating plant
6. Hilarious driving lessons
7. Pig dissections (‘nuf said)
8. The Kosolowski metamorphosis
9. Sadie and Jana’s female bromance (girlmance?)
10. Top Ten lists

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: The Senior Superlative
Author: Jennifer D.
Publisher: N/A
Pages: 236
Category: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links to Purchase: For a limited time, read it for free at SwoonReads

Author Jennifer D.

Author Jennifer D.

About the Author
Jennifer DiGiovanni lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. She’s a freelance writer by day who also enjoys writing light-hearted YA fiction.

After graduating with a degree in English, Jennifer has participated in local writers’ workshops and has graduated from the Children’s Institute of Literature.

She’s also a member of the SCBWI and Critique Circle. Connect with Jennifer on twitter @jendwrites.

Where to Find Jennifer D.
Goodreads | Tumblr | Twitter

Young Adult Book Review – Iron Pendulum (The Periodic Series) by Megan Curd

Iron Pendulum (The Periodic Series #2) by Megan Curd

Iron Pendulum (The Periodic Series #2) by Megan Curd

Synopsis
A month ago, Avery thought the world ended outside Dome Four. Thought she was one of the few of her kind. Thought the war that brought the human race to the brink of extinction was over.

But a month can change everything.

After fighting to escape a tyranny she didn’t even know existed, Avery has had to come to grips with all the secrets she’s uncovered. But more secrets continue to come to light, revealing how little of her world she truly knew. When evidence starts to show that Dome Four might be under siege, Avery knows what she must do.

Returning to the dome she longed to escape is a challenge for Avery, but now she knows there’s corruption lurking in the shadows. A massive steam shortage leaves half the dome without power, and people are falling ill. Dying.

And they’re blaming Avery.

A month can change everything. One more month could kill everyone. The clock is ticking.

My Review
Although I keep hearing dystopia is dead, I’m very that Megan Curd doesn’t agree. Iron Pendulum is the second book in her Periodic Series. I haven’t read the first one yet and was concerned that would be an issue, but it wasn’t. The author does a fabulous job of providing just as much of the backstory as necessary to keep up with  what happens in Iron Pendulum. And a lot happens. The book is full of action with a lot of unexpected twists.

There are a few relationships that would probably be more meaningful if I’d read Book 1 first, but it didn’t prevent me from enjoying this fast-paced young adult novel that is part fantasy, part steampunk, and a whole lot of pulse-pounding adventure.

Avery Pike is an elementalist, someone who can control the elements. Her specialty is creating steam which is used to provide oxygen to the inhabitants of Dome Four. Even though she generates enough steam in a matter of minutes to power the dome for a month, it disappears almost overnight. Add to that a deathly illness plaguing the Traditionals (non Elites), creepy zombie-like guards, and the erection of the iron pendulum that’s supposed to keep everyone safe, and things aren’t adding up. Avery and her friends try to find out what’s going on, save the lives of the Traditionals, and bring about a revolution. Like I said, action packed.

Plot
The plot is gripping and only slowed long enough to let me catch your breath, but just barely. There were a couple of areas that I thought didn’t seem plausible, but this is a fantasy, so I chose to ignore those and just enjoy the ride. Iron Pendulum is pure entertainment. It’s on the longish side at 335 pages, but it never drags. The author has created a fascinating world that is both dark and hopeful. And because of that, anything is possible, which means nothing is predictable.

Characters
The story is full of deep, complex, colorful, and nuanced characters that are easy to root for, to love, and even to loathe. Everyone from Jaxon, the sexy dreadlocked love interest and fellow rebel, to smart-mouthed, Christian house mother, Dana. I would love to get a peek a Vincent’s character bio. He’s the son of the Dome’s Governor Lindroth and is neither completely good nor bad, but is perfectly flawed to the point that he is believably human and infinitely fascinating.

I had a hard time getting a sense of who Avery is, though. This might be where reading Book 1 first would have paid off. If I had, perhaps I would have had a better sense of who she is. Because she’s the narrator, I can’t tell if she’s deliberately holding herself back, or if the author spent so much time creating such an amazing cast of supporting characters that she forgot about Avery. Regardless, it works really well because it’s easy to step into her shoes and experience the novel as Avery.

Bottom Line
A unique story in the young adult dystopian genre with its elements of fantasy and a fun steampunk vibe. The characters are fresh and a setting so brilliantly crafted, it’s almost a character itself. Now I’m off to read Steel Lily, the first book in the series available now for just $0.99.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Iron Pendulum
Series: The Periodic Series #2
Author: Megan Curd
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Pages: 355
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Steampunk Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Megan Curd

Author Megan Curd

About the Author
Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While having always enjoyed reading any books she could get her hands on, Megan didn’t begin writing until a friend encouraged her to do so while in college.

When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Photography, traveling and snowboarding are hobbies she loves, and she doesn’t turn down the opportunity to play xBox with her brother and friends when it presents itself.

Megan currently resides in Ohio with her husband and son, where she is trying to convert them into Buckeye fans.

Where to Find Megan Curd
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Guest Post + Giveaway – Megan Curd, Author of Iron Pendulum

A special thank you to author, Megan Curd, for today’s guest post. To find out more about Megan and her book, Iron Pendulum, see below.

Guest Post: Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Okay, so covers. Ooo-wee. So many people want to say to not judge a book by its cover…but let me be honest. I’m a cover whore. If a cover is pretty, you better believe I’m going to pick it up, caress it, smell those fresh pages (if it’s a print book…obviously I don’t sniff my Kindle. That’d be weird.) and more than likely, I’ll read the blurb. If the blurb sounds remotely interesting, I’m looking into further.

But you know what got me to that point? The cover.

So yep, I do judge books by their covers.

In this day, indie authors are gaining respect, and more and more readers are willing to take a chance on us. The important thing for an indie, beyond all else, is a good copyeditor and a good book cover. And depending on the day, those two things change between #1 and #2…but both are non-negotiables.

So what makes a good book cover? That’s a tough question. Every person has a different opinion on what a good cover looks like, so I thought I’d share some covers that had huge influences on the feel that I wanted IRON PENDULUM to have. I was very fortunate to find Regina Wamba of Mae I Design & Photography, and she allowed me to be very hands on in the design process. She asked me to give her music that fueled the book, images, and covers that I liked. These are the covers I gave her, too.

1.) Clockwork Prince (basically any of the Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare – I LOOOOOOOOOOVE these covers. They’re gorgeous. And the actual print covers? ::falls over dead:: Yeah, I’m a fangirl for these beauties.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

2.) Hunger Games (again, the entire series) by Suzanne Collins – The simplicity of these covers made the focal point so much more important. I loved that, and I wanted my cover to be simplistic, yet still bring across the tone of the book. I think Regina nailed it. I owe her a lot of cupcakes.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

3.) Divergent (the entire series) by Veronica Roth – Again, these covers are just plain amazing. I love that there’s a definitive focal point, and I love the colors.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

As you can see, I’m a sucker for steampunk/dystopian titles as it is, so it was only a matter of time before I wrote my own book in that theme, hah! Personally, I love book covers that leave the reader’s imagination at the wheel for what characters look like for the most part, but those Infernal Devices covers break that rule for me, haha. Which, just goes to show you, that anything can work if you break the rules right!

So, what about you guys? What are some covers that had you grabbing the book and saying, “I don’t even care what this is about, I just wanna pet the cover!” I’d love to hear your opinions!

————————————————————————–

Iron Pendulum (The Periodic Series #2) by Megan Curd

Iron Pendulum (The Periodic Series #2) by Megan Curd

About the Book
Title: Iron Pendulum
Series: The Periodic Series #2
Author: Megan Curd
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy
Links: Goodreads Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
A month ago, Avery thought the world ended outside Dome Four. Thought she was one of the few of her kind. Thought the war that brought the human race to the brink of extinction was over.

But a month can change everything.

After fighting to escape a tyranny she didn’t even know existed, Avery has had to come to grips with all the secrets she’s uncovered. But more secrets continue to come to light, revealing how little of her world she truly knew. When evidence starts to show that Dome Four might be under siege, Avery knows what she must do.

Returning to the dome she longed to escape is a challenge for Avery, but now she knows there’s corruption lurking in the shadows. A massive steam shortage leaves half the dome without power, and people are falling ill. Dying.

And they’re blaming Avery.

A month can change everything. One more month could kill everyone. The clock is ticking.

Author Megan Curd

Author Megan Curd

About the Author
Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While having always enjoyed reading any books she could get her hands on, Megan didn’t begin writing until a friend encouraged her to do so while in college.

When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Photography, traveling and snowboarding are hobbies she loves, and she doesn’t turn down the opportunity to play xBox with her brother and friends when it presents itself.

Megan currently resides in Ohio with her husband and son, where she is trying to convert them into Buckeye fans.

Where to Find Megan Curd
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Giveaway
A signed print copy of Steel Lily along with a $5 gift card to winner’s choice. US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Exclusive Interview + Giveaway – J.L. Berg, Author of Within These Walls

Within These Walls Blog Tour

I’m delighted to have been able to interview, J.L. Berg. If I didn’t already love her for her books, I’d love her just for being the witty, fascinating person she is. To find out more about J.L. and her book, Within These Walls, see below.

Exclusive Interview with Author J.L. Berg

Q: What are you most excited about sharing with your readers in Within These Walls?

J.L.: There are so many things. So. Many. Things. Within These Walls was so difficult to write. I cried and suffered with these characters and as much as each book is a part of me—this one really became my ultimate favorite. Lailah and Jude’s journey is a special one and I hope readers love it as much as I did writing it.

Q: What is the one thing you hope most that your readers will take away from it?

J.L.: Hope– that is what I want readers to take away from this book. This book really is a journey of two broken people finding each other after extraordinary circumstances. I hope readers feel inspired by their love story.

Q: I read your “One Year Ago Today” blog post, and as an aspiring author only months away from hitting that same button, I was inspired. How long did your idea swim around in your head before you actually decided to put it to paper?

J.L.: Honestly, not long. Once the idea of Logan and Clare formed in my head, it was hard to ignore them. I was excited, scared and felt invigorated all at once. It’s the same feeling I get every time an idea hits me—that feeling that I need to get these ideas out of my head and share them with someone, anyone. I never had grand ambitions of bestsellers lists or book signings when I began writing When You’re Ready—I just wanted to write and I hoped that maybe someone out there would want to read it.

Q: Even though you’re relatively still new to the published author arena, are you living a lifelong dream or is the writing bug something that sort of crept up on you over time?

J.L.: Writing was a childhood dream—something I tucked away when real life got in the way. Term papers and tests replaced my creative writing time and I took a practical route and majored in psychology. Professors always told me I had a knack for writing but who has time to write for fun in college? After I graduated, I started working full time and became a mom. Life was always in the way. Finally I decided there would always be roadblocks if I allowed them and now I find myself doing the one thing I always wanted to do for a career.

Q: You’ve written a number of books since you published When You’re Ready, Do your ideas just come to you, or do you find yourself struggling to come up with the next story?

J.L.: The ideas come to me all the time—at random, weird times. I keep a journal of ideas for future projects. It’s just a matter of deciding which ones are speaking to me the loudest.

Q: You, being you, must have something fabulous already in the works after Within These Walls. Is there anything about your next project you can share with us at this time?

J.L.: I do! I am currently writing Ready or Not, the next book in the Ready series. After that, I will be writing Roman’s book – a spin off of Within These Walls. Readers are already dying for this one. After that, I may have some plans for Jude and Lailah. I’m still deciding.

Q: Describe your writing environment? Do you need silence? Music? A venti vanilla latte?

J.L.: It depends on what I am writing. Sometimes, if it is a heavy or difficult scene, I need silence. Other times, I write with music. Right now, I am writing with Sofia the First playing in the background. My kids are still home for the summer, which has made writing over the last few weeks very interesting! I can’t wait for my silence back!

Q: You’re known for your contemporary romance, but what if you could write under a pen name that no one would ever discover was you? What genre would you just secretly love to write?

J.L.: I love paranormal romance. It was my first love and for years, it was all I read. I would love to be able to create a world like J.R. Ward or Karen Marie Monning. But, for now, I think I’ll stick to contemporary tear jerkers!

___________________________

Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

About the Book
Title:
 Within These Walls
Author: J.L. Berg
Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance
Release Date: August 18, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Synopsis
Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength.

I am not strong. I am just a survivor of circumstance.

Isn’t that what we all do? Survive?

Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through. Mine are just more…complicated.

Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than my own bedroom.

I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared. He thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget.

But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart forever?

My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and sacrificing it all for the one you love.

___________________________

Read the first chapter here!

Author J.L. Berg

Author J.L. Berg

About the Author
 J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis.

When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Where to Find J.L. Berg
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Her Destiny (Reverie Series) by Monica Murphy

Her Destiny (Reverie #2) by Monica Murphy

Her Destiny (Reverie #2) by Monica Murphy

Synopsis
I knew from the moment I first saw him he was the one. The only boy I could ever want.

The only boy I could ever love.

They say he’s bad for me.

But I know he’s not.

Until the day he rejects me.

And breaks my heart.

Completely.

Everything changes in the blink of an eye. My entire life as I’ve known it is…gone. Secrets are revealed. Promises once made are irrevocably broken. There’s no way my family can get back to what we once were.

So when Nicholas Fairfield walks back into my life like he never left it, I’m furious. Thrilled. Irritated. Excited.

Conflicted.

Despite my confusion, I want to be with him. I love him. But danger lurks where we least expect it. Someone will do whatever it takes to tear us apart. All I know is: I won’t let them.

Because Nick Fairfield? He’s mine.

My Review
I haven’t been this excited to get an ARC in my inbox in, well, I don’t know when. Maybe ever. His Reverie was a wonderful story, but as soon as it ended, I wanted more. And now I have it and it was worth the wait. Picking up several weeks after His Reverie ends, Her Destiny is told from dual points of view. I love that we get to hear from Reverie this time around without being filtered through diary entries.

The passion, angst, and heartbreak are amped up in this sequel, culminating in a climax with higher stakes. I love that this book isn’t just a continuation of the first. It’s a sequel with more teeth as both of their worlds are night and day by comparison to what they were before. Reverie’s life is irrevocably changed on the heels of the Hale family scandal, and in the aftermath of Krista’s murder, Nick remains a prime suspect. The fact that they live two hours apart only adds to the conflict.

Plot
Reverie and her family return home to deal with the accusations against her parents, while Nick is left behind to deal with his own accusations — that he killed his ex-girlfriend, Krista. With no way to reach Reverie, Nick desperately misses her and longs for her. Reverie is heartbroken that Nick refused to see her after he was arrested, and now she hasn’t heard from him in weeks. She spirals out of control, becoming someone unrecognizable, partying with the wrong crowd, trying to kiss away her feelings for Nick.

Their lives intersect once again in an unexpected way and both of them, trying to do what’s best for the other, attempt to deny their feelings for each other, but all that does is complicate things further.

Characters
The character development and growth is gritty and realistic and drives the story. I was glad to see that Monica Murphy kept her characters true to who they were while also allowing them to change as a result of the events that take place in their lives. Reverie, especially, is authentic as the good girl whose sheltered life comes crashing down around, rebelling against the values her corrupt parents instilled in her. It’s believable that a teen already searching for her place in the world, would question everything her parents taught her when it’s revealed they weren’t who they pretended to be.

Nick is still coping not only with Krista’s death, but the time he did in prison for his false conviction nearly two years before. He’s struggling just as much as Reverie to find his place in a world that isn’t what he thought it was. The rug is pulled out from under him once again and he’s floundering in believable fashion.

Bottom Line
If possible, Her Destiny is even better than His Reverie. It explores trust, responsibility, faith and the bonds of love as they’re tested over and over again.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

—————————————

Excerpt
“You sure Evan doesn’t mind me being here?”

“He probably hates that you’re staying the night, but he’ll get over it.” I take a step toward him and pat him on the shoulder, marveling at the solid feel of muscle beneath my palm, beneath the thick fabric of his sweatshirt. Has he gotten taller since the last time I saw him? Broader? He’s so big, standing next to him makes me feel small. “Do you need anything else?” I remove my hand from his shoulder, wishing I could touch him more.

“Nah. I’m gonna change, brush my teeth and go to sleep.” He smiles, looking cute, like a little boy and my heart flutters. When he reaches for the hem of his sweatshirt I step away, watch in silent fascination as he pulls the fabric over his head, taking the T-shirt he’s wearing beneath it upward so I catch a glimpse of his flat, perfect stomach, the little trail of dark hair that starts just under his navel.

I’m breathless, my skin is tingling and when he tosses the sweatshirt onto the couch, I start to walk backwards. “Okay well, good night.” I need to get away from him before I do something really stupid.

Like jump him.

“Night, Reverie,” he calls after me as I hurry to my bedroom. Glancing over my shoulder, I find him watching me with that penetrating, thoughtful gaze and I turn away, practically tripping over my feet in the hall. I rush into my room, shutting the door quietly before I slump against it, closing my eyes and pressing my forehead against the rough wood.

My feelings for him haven’t stopped. I still want him. I’m still in love with him. So why am I denying myself from being with him? Because I’ve changed and I’m worried he won’t accept me for who I really am? And because my life is so crazy the last thing I need is another complication to muck it all up?

Valid reasons, but why would I deprive myself from being with him? He’s the only one who understood me. Who listened to me. Who cared about me.

I think he still does.

Cracking open my eyes, I push away from the doorway and shut off the light before I crawl into bed. I lay there in the dark, listening to him move about inside the bathroom, which is right next to my bedroom. He finishes brushing his teeth before he exits the room and I swear I can feel him standing on the other side of my closed door, waiting. Listening for any sign of life coming from within.

I can’t move. I’m frozen, holding my breath, waiting for him to knock on the door, to turn the knob, anything to show that he wants to see me. I want him to both respect my brother’s wishes and defy them. I want him overcome with need yet cautious. I want…everything.

All of him.

Disappointment crashes through me when I realize he is definitely obeying Evan’s wishes. He doesn’t sneak into my room, doesn’t attempt to talk to me, nothing. I should be happy. Pleased that he doesn’t want to upset anyone.

Instead, I’m sad.

Rolling over on my side, I punch the pillow beneath my head and settle in for the night, willing myself to fall asleep. I get to spend pretty much the entire weekend with him. Maybe we can work it out then since we’ll have plenty of time. But for now I’ll have to settle for Nick visiting me…

Only in my dreams.

—————————————

About the Book
Title: Her Destiny
Series: Reverie #2
Author: Monica Murphy
Release Date: August 25, 2014
Pages: 165
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

His Reverie (Reverie #1) by Monica Murphy

His Reverie (Reverie #1) by Monica Murphy

About Book 1
Title: His Reverie
Author: Monica Murphy
Release Date: July 28, 2014
Pages: 249
Genre: Upper Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
I knew from the moment I first saw her she was the one. The only girl I could ever want. The only girl I could ever love.

She is light.

I am darkness.

She is innocent.

I’ve done too much.

She is good.

I am bad.

She is my every dream. I should be her every nightmare.

We come from different worlds. She’s…perfect. And I’m…

Not.

Somehow she wants me anyway. So we’ll grasp at what we can. We’re going to make this summer count. She’s my secret. And I’m hers. The problem with secrets is they never last for long. And when others discover we’re together, they’ll do whatever it takes to keep us apart. All I know is: I won’t let them.

Because Reverie Hale? She’s mine.

You can read my review of His Reverie here.

Author Monica Murphy

Author Monica Murphy

About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

For more information, visit her website or sign up for her newsletter using the links below. She’s also known as USA Today bestseller romance author, Karen Erickson.

Where to Find Monica Murphy
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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Author Spotlight – Christina Mercer

Author Christina Mercer

Author Christina Mercer

I’m delighted to spotlight author, Christina Mercer, today. Here is a little about Christina:

Christina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest, and won Honorable Mention in the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards.

She holds a degree in Accounting from California State University at Sacramento and a Certificate in Herbal Studies from Clayton College of Natural Health.

Christina resides in Northern California enjoying life with her husband, two sons, four dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees.

Where to Find Christina Mercer
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Books
Arrow of the Mist Series | Honey Queen

 

New Adult Book Review – Broken (Redemption No. 1) by Lauren Layne

Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne

Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne

Synopsis
Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both… or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

My Review
I’m a big fan of updated fairy tales, Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite TV shows, so this modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast was too good to resist. Sometimes it tries too hard to remind us of that, but for the most part, it’s just a really solid romance. Paul is the beast, scarred and damaged from a roadside attack in Afghanistan. Olivia is the beauty, stuck taking care of the beast and ends up falling for him.

Even the caretakers are a little Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth-esque. But the story departs enough from the well-known story to stand on its own and leave us guessing in a few instances. Without giving too much away (I don’t do spoilers) I will say I love that author, Lauren Layne, didn’t feel the need to pretty up the beast in the end. His battle scars don’t miraculously disappear with a spell-breaking kiss. The characters are far more real than that, which makes this retelling that much more enjoyable.

Plot
It’s a modern-day fairy tale with a twist. We all know the story, but there are no angry pitchfork-wielding villagers, although there is a bar fight. But unlike the fairy tale, two characters are flawed and need to grow in order to overcome their own demons in the end. Told from alternating first person points of view, the story gets us deep into their minds and allows us to experience their development right along with them. Even though we know these two are going to end up together, it’s fun watching how it happens.

Characters
Olivia is witty and charming and I liked her right away. I did question how much she beat herself up over her indiscretion, though. Sure, she messed up, but it wasn’t like shed’ robbed a bank or killed someone. I thought it was a little melodramatic, but then she’s a spoiled rich girl, so it truly is the worst thing she’s ever done and in that sense, it fits her character.

Paul is likeable, even if he has serious moments of major asshole-ishness. We understand why he’s keeping Olivia at arms’ length, although there are times when I wanted to smack him around and tell him he’s being a bit too self-pitying.

Bottom Line
A solid retelling of a tried-and-true fairy tale with a lot of window-fogging heat and one of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Broken
Series: Redemption #1
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Flirt/Random House LLC
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Pages: 270
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Lauren Layne

Author Lauren Layne

About the Author
Lauren Layne is a snarky smartass with a serious weakness for happily ever afters. Marrying her high school sweetheart was a good start. *cue Disney soundtrack.* But Lauren wanted all romance, all the time.

Now she writes fictional happy endings, and considers her job done well if you swoon while reading her books.

Don’t worry. You will.

Once upon a time she lived in a Manhattan high-rise, but now she’s on the laid-back train in the Seattle area. If you ever find yourself in Issaquah, she’ll probably buy you a drink. Maybe.

Where to Find Lauren Layne
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | TumblrAmazon

Guest Post + Giveaway – Cassie Mae, Author of The Real Thing

The Real Thing by Cassie Mae Blog Tour

A special thank you to author, Cassie Mae, for today’s guest post. To find out more about Cassie Mae and her book, The Real Thing, see below.

Guest Post: Writing the Heavier Male

A big THANK YOU! to this site for letting me invade for THE REAL THING tour 🙂 (squishy hugs)

Seemed like there was one spot for the ‘big guy’ that was acceptable. Usually it’s okay to be heavier if there was a purpose for it. I wasn’t the funny guy, or the outgoing clown. I’m the shy dude.

For the longest time, I wanted to write about a heavier male. There are quite a few books that hit on female body issues and expectations (including one of mine 😉 ) but I’ve often thought that men deal with the same expectation. Imagine walking with your girlfriend down the romance aisle at Target, and seeing nothing but Fabio-esque men on every book she picked up.

It’s impossible not to bring up the own men in my life while talking about this subject… from my brother to my husband to my cousins and uncles and father… who are wonderful, beautiful men, but do not have the Channing Tatum build. I was at the local pool one day with my family, and as a woman, I often feel insecure and uncomfortable in a bathing suit around gorgeous women with bikini bodies. And I thought as I watched my husband debate on going shirtless or wearing one if men feel this way too. Whether it be too hairy, too bare, too big of a beer belly, too white, too skinny, too freckled.

Are they going to voice these insecurities? I’m guessing no. But do they feel them? Do they feel pressured to live up to a seemingly impossible body image just like women feel? I think that on some level, yes, they do. I often hear my husband whisper under his breath, “I gotta get in shape.” And I gaze over and see the sexy man I married (who can run, lift me off my feet-which is a big deal!, and looks ah-maz-ing in everything he owns, but especially his badge and uniform) and I wonder how he thinks these things.

And that’s why I wanted to showcase a man who grew up heavy, who still deals with the insecurities of not being “that guy.” The guy who gets the girl, the guy who can run a 6 minute mile— he’s the guy who is so used to being big, that even when he gets healthy, that the thought is in his mind: “What’ll she think of my body?”

You can catch his story, as well as the best friend who loves him fat or thin, in The Real Thing. Info below!

___________________________

The Real Thing by Cassie Mae

The Real Thing by Cassie Mae

About the Book
Title:
 The Real Thing
Author: Cassie Mae
Publisher: Flirt/Random House LLC
Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Links: Random HouseGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
In this electrifying novel from Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.

Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer.

Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

Advance praise for The Real Thing
“Cassie Mae is awesome! The perfect balance between laugh-out-loud funny and achingly poignant, The Real Thing is the ultimate escapist read. I didn’t want it to end!”—Lauren Layne, author of Isn’t She Lovely

“Watching two best friends figure out how to fall in love makes The Real Thing a summer read of swoon-worthy perfection.”—Jolene Perry, author of The Summer I Found You

“Cassie Mae’s The Real Thing made me want to close out every social media app and electronic device I have, but I couldn’t manage to stop reading!”—Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures
___________________________

Author Cassie Mae

Author Cassie Mae

About the Author
Cassie Mae (who dawns the name Becca Ann on occasion) is the author of a few hundred… okay, maybe not that many… books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.

Since publishing her bestselling debut, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend, she has published and sold books to Random House, Swoon Romance, and Spencer Hill Press. She has a favorite of all her book babies, but no, she won’t tell you what it is. (Mainly because it changes depending on the day.)

Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Teen Wolf and The Big Bang Theory. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.

You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Dylan O’Brien to her on her Facebook page

Where to Find Cassie Mae
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Review + Giveaway – Flirting with Forever (Island Bliss #1) by Kim Boykin

Flirting with Forever (Island Bliss #1) by Kim Boykin

Flirting with Forever (Island Bliss #1) by Kim Boykin

Synopsis
Forty-year-old Tara Jordan’s first book, The Perfect Marriage in 30 Days, is at the top of the bestseller lists, and her publisher wants her on a book tour ASAP. Tara’s about to live her dream only there’s one problem. Her husband of 15 years has just walked out, leaving Tara on the brink of financial ruin with no choice but to promote a self-help book about marriage when hers is secretly in ruins.

Enter publicist Jake Randall, 30, who’s had it with hand holding newbie authors channeling their inner divas on their first book tours, until he meets Tara. Their instant attraction blossoms quickly into love.

Tara thinks she has achieved her dreams and earned her license to thrive until her husband, Jim returns determined to win her back.

My Review
Flirting With Forever is a very sweet romance, almost too sweet for an adult contemporary, and yet it works. So much of what I’ve read in the genre lately has steamy sex scenes which Flirting is completely devoid of. Even so, there’s enough heat, but just barely. From an aspiring author’s perspective, I loved the newly-published author angle. It was fun to watch Tara navigate the world of publishing success and to see the inner workings of the publicity machine in action.

Kim Boykin does a good job of differentiating her characters, but her switch to third-person when she’s giving us Jake’s point of view is a little jarring at first. I eventually got used to it, but it always made me feel more distant from him than I did Tara. Perhaps that was the author’s intent. A few things didn’t quite seem to fit for me, including Jim’s tirade when he first shows up after abandoning Tara. But nothing was really too much to keep me from enjoying the story.

Plot
The plot was entertaining, although not particularly groundbreaking. I found some of it  predictable, but there were just enough unexpected twists to keep it from being too predictable. The ending wraps up a little too cleanly for me. I almost felt like the resolution was too easy. There was potential for some added conflict, but overall, I came away feeling satisfied with the conclusion.

Characters
Tara was fabulous. I’ll admit, I didn’t care much for her in the beginning. The way she seemed to wallow in her abandonment made me want to smack some sense into her. But that worked out well, because watching her grow was so much more fun. Jake is adorable without being too roguish or too perfect, although I felt his transformation was  too quick. Then again, the third-person point of view kept me at arms-length, so I wasn’t as fully inside his head as I was Tara’s. If I’d known him better, his progression may have flowed more naturally. It’s possible the initial personality he displays is what was out of character for him

Bottom Line
This is a very sweet contemporary romance with likeable characters and an interesting subplot. If you like your romance on the clean side, Flirting with Forever is a winner.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Flirting With Forever
Series: Island Bliss #1
Author: Kim Boykin
Publisher: Tule Publishing Group
Release Date: July 19, 2014
Pages: 142
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Auther Kim BoykinAbout the Author
Kim Boykin is a women’s fiction author with a sassy Southern streak. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair, Steal Me, Cowboy, and Palmetto Moon (Summer 2014.)

While her heart is always in South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, 3 dogs, and 126 rose bushes.

Where to Find Kim Boykin
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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Guest Post + Giveaway – J.L. Berg, Author of Within These Walls

Within These Walls Blog Tour

A special thank you to author, J.L. Berg, for today’s guest post. To find out more about J.L. and her book, Within These Walls, see below.

Guest Post: A Bucket Full of Dreams

Everyone has them—dreams, wishes…things we hope to aspire to or achieve. One day. Eventually.

It’s our bucket list.

Whether we write it down, or keep it locked away in our heads, we all have one. A list of things we wish to do in the “someday”. Many of us dream of traveling the world, climbing Mt. Everest or learning a new language. Those are what we consider “dream worthy”.

But what if your life were different? What if the confines of your existence had been so sheltered that simply stepping out to have a cup of coffee would be an adventure?

What would your bucket list look like then?

In my new novel, Within These Walls, life for Lailah Buchanan has never been easy. Living with a rare heart defect has kept her locked away from what we would consider a normal existence. She’s spent more days in a hospital than she has in her own bedroom. She will never climb Mt. Everest or have children of her own, but she still has dreams.

“My life is not horrible. It’s just different.”

Her bucket list is filled with everyday things that seem plain or ordinary to us, but to someone like Lailah—they’re extraordinary.

“Okay.” He chuckled. “Give me number fourteen.”
“Um…put my toes in the ocean.”
“What?”
“I want to put my toes in the ocean.”
“But you live less than fifteen minutes from the beach,” he reminded me.
I sighed. “Ironic, right?”

So, tell me—what’s on your list? Nothing is ordinary if you have the courage to dream.

___________________________

Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

About the Book
Title:
 Within These Walls
Author: J.L. Berg
Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance
Release Date: August 18, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Synopsis
Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength.

I am not strong. I am just a survivor of circumstance.

Isn’t that what we all do? Survive?

Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through. Mine are just more…complicated.

Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than my own bedroom.

I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared. He thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget.

But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart forever?

My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and sacrificing it all for the one you love.

___________________________

Read the first chapter here!

Author J.L. Berg

Author J.L. Berg

About the Author
 J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis.

When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Where to Find J.L. Berg
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Theater Review – Geeks the Musical (Comic-Con)

Geeks The Musical

Synopsis
The show follows the adventures of a gaggle of geeks through the San Diego Comic Book/Sci-Fi Convention. Geek boy, Jordan, is on the search for Batman issue #92, but stumbles upon Kerry, the geek girl of his dreams.

In the meantime, his best friend and Doctor Who fanatic, Chip, offers to distract Kerry’s friend, Emerson, a man with impossibly high standards. But a series of miscommunications has Jordan believing that Kerry was stolen from him by his childhood hero, Mel Tyler, a has-been sci-fi actor.

Meanwhile, Audrina the Goth girl and her best friend Trey attempt to sell their avant-garde comic. All this while they geek, sing and dance to such songs as “Geek to Geek”, “Woman in Sci-Fi”, “Bi Guy” and “Who’s Who of Dr. Who”.

Directed by Patrick Gates and Lizzie Morse, making their directorial debuts, and with musical direction by Brandon Sherman, GEEKS features Lorina Alfaro, James B. Darvas, Franklin DeBerg, Pete Hoban, Ed Hollingsworth, Devon Hollingsworth, Sarah LeClaire, M. Keala Milles & Dakota Ringer

My Review
I had no idea how delightful this musical would be. I was invited to attend by a friend, and for the price, I couldn’t turn it down. Plus it was a great way to wrap up the whole Comic-Con experience. When I arrived at the tiny BLKBOX theater in Hillcrest, my expectations were tempered even further. I attended with my friend and our two 14-year-old daughters, my daughter, a self-proclaimed Whovian, in her beloved Doctor Who TARDIS T-shirt. It was a toss-up between that and her Thor shirt, but she chose wisely.

We arrived about 15 minutes before show time, but the small venue was already full and four seats next to each other was not possible. In fact, even two seats next to each other weren’t to be had. So the theater staff pulled up folding chairs and set them on the floor mere feet from the stage. We had front row seats to one of the most surprisingly fun musicals I’ve experienced in a long time.

Story
The story follows a group of geeky convention attendees through four days of San Diego Comic-Con. Each main character has their own arc that plays out over the convention as they each seek something — a rare comic book, a set of Doctor Who plates, a publisher, recaptured glory, the love of a best friend — all with hilarious results. There are some adult themes and strong language, but it’s suitable for ages 12 and up.

Characters
The characters are what really make this show what it is. The story isn’t much without the brilliant characters and the actors who bring them to life. While there is some stereotyping, I mean, come on, we’re talking about the king of nerdom here, those stereotypes are played out to comic perfection. But even with some superficial characterization, each charter had enough depth to transcend their archetype and develop over the 90-minute musical.

Music
The music was fun. Sure, it’s not Rodgers and Hammerstein, but it so perfectly fit the theme, I can’t really fault it. The lyrics were witty and the singing was strong. I think my favorite was Woman in Sci-Fi and the way it pokes fun of the male-to-female ratio of convention attendees and the awkwardness of nerdy boys when presented with a female. When budgets allow, what would take this to the next level would be live musical accompaniment instead of canned music, but that’s my only complaint.

Acting
The acting was just flat-out phenomenal. I never once questioned that these characters were who they presented themselves to be. Although I’m sure it’s partly due to his top-notch material, I have to give the local Tony to James P. Darvis for his portrayal of Emerson, the less-than tolerant fashion critic and reluctant best friend to Kerry.

Sets
The sets were probably the weakest part of the production, but I didn’t find that it impacted my enjoyment any. Probably just one more thing they can invest in when this lovely little production takes off.

Costumes
They were brilliant. Geeky T-shirts, 70’s comic book hero, tights and all, the fourth Doctor’s scarf, Goth girl. The costumes were exactly what you’d expect to see and I love that they often changed shirts at least, as convention goers tend to do (some more than others).

Bottom Line
The production has ended for the year, but when this theater darling comes around again next year, it’s not to be missed. If you’re coming to San Diego in 2015 for Comic-Con, take the short trip up to HIllcrest for this show. It’ll be the best hour and a half of your weekend that won’t be spent at a panel.

Title: Geeks the Musical
Book & Lyrics: Thomas J. Misuraca
Music: Ruth Judkowitz
Co-Directors: Patrick Gates and Lizzie Morse
Musical Direction: Brandon Sherman
Scenic Design: Ron Logan
Production Stage Manager: Grace S. Penaranda
Rehearsal Stage Manager: Lance Rosenberger
Music Director: Brandon Sherman
Costumes: Mary Summerday
Links: Geeks The Musical

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Sins of the Fallen and Greed by Karina Espinosa

Sins of the Fallen by Karina Espinosa

Sins of the Fallen by Karina Espinosa

Synopsis
When seventeen-year-old Maximillion Taylor and his best friend, Jones go to a house party, he doesn’t expect to get kidnapped—much less by a succubus—and she’s not the only one on the hunt.

Thrown into a world of angels and demons, where nothing and no one is what they seem, Max ventures to find his true identity and learn to fight the demons who pursue him. When his origin is revealed, it’s a race against the clock for a battle that will determine whether he can protect the ones he loves or succumb to his true nature.

Through lies, betrayal, love and pain, Max must prepare to face the demons before it is too late…

My Review
This was a page-turning paranormal adventure with enough romance to satisfy any teen reader. It’s the story of Max, a typical 17-year old boy who is anything but typical. After attending a party with his best friend, Jones, and a couple of hot twins, Max is kidnapped and discovers the world he lives in is more than he bargained for. One filled with demons and angels and a sexy succubus, determined to inhale the life out of him.

Told from Max’s point of view, it’s a nice change from most young adult paranormal romances, which are almost always told from a female’s point of view. We get to see Max as he copes with the truth, learns more about himself and his family, grapples with love, lust, and everything in between in teen boy fashion.

Plot
The story is definitely a little different from most paranormal teen romances I’ve read lately, and in a good way. There isn’t much I can say here without spoiling anything, so I’ll just say there were a lot of twists and turns that kept me hooked.

Characters
While this is primarily a plot-driven story, and there’s a lot of plot going on, the characters are fascinating. Max in particular is fun and different. He captured me from the opening page when he hopped a fence in drag. Yes, a straight teen boy in drag. I was instantly hooked. His best friends, Jones and Angela, are equally intriguing with nothing typical about any of them. There are a lot of  players in this story and it’s hard to tell who can be trusted, which only adds to the fantastic plot.

Bottom Line
Sins of the Fallen is a solid young adult paranormal with a nice twist. If you like stories of fallen angels, you will get a kick out of this one.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Sins of the Fallen (Sins of the Fallen #1)
Author: Karina Espinosa
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Pages: 294
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Greed by Karina Espinosa

Greed by Karina Espinosa

Synopsis
Maximillion can never return to the normal life he once had—not now that he’s Wrath—one of the seven Nephilim. After the failed battle with Abbadon and his demons, the death of a loved one, and the betrayal of the person he trusted the most—Max was forced to go into hiding. But not before devising a plan to look for answers: to search for the other Nephilim.

Max and his best friend/guardian angel, Jones are on the run for a month before their first clue leads them to Sin City, Las Vegas to find the Nephilim of Greed. But Nikolai’s reluctance to help and fear of an unknown force leaves Max with more questions than answers.

Will he discover who is hunting the Nephilim? And if he does, can he overcome the forces of evil against them?

Find out in the sequel to Sins of the Fallen, where Karina Espinosa pulls readers back to the saga unfolding in the world of angels and demons—a world where everything falls part.

My Review
Greed is a solid follow-up to Sins of the Fallen. Max’s story moves forward as he searches for other Nephilim and comes to terms with who he is and the fact that he can’t go back to his old life. As Wrath, one of the seven Nephilim and the son of a fallen angel, he’s got a lot on his shoulders. And after his mother’s death (I feel bad now that I disliked her so much in the first book) he’s dealing with a lot, everything from anger to guilt. Considering he’s Wrath, anger fits in nicely. Their search for other Nephilim, particularly, Greed, not only gives the book it’s title, but sends Max and Co. to Vegas, the playground of sin and greed.

Plot
Once again, Karina Espinosa delivers a solid plot with more twists and turns and fantastic character development. The author ups the stakes this time around as the plot builds.  The world building is also fantastic. I love her fresh and deep take on mythology.

Characters
The character development is fantastic. Max is extremely believable as he comes into his own with his identity. The new cast adds a lot both to the plot as well as to further building established characters. The way they play off each other does as much as anything to tell us who they are, although Angela starts to get on my nerves in this book.

Bottom Line
Another solid read from Karina Espinosa that builds on book 1 and takes us on a fantastic adventure.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Greed (Sins of the Fallen #2)
Author: Karina Espinosa
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Pages: 203
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Karina EspinosaAbout the Author
Born in New York City, my family picked up and moved to South Florida when I was twelve. After high school I spent the next few years traveling and experiencing what life had to offer me. At twenty four years old, I’m back in South Florida in my third year of University-majoring in Communication studies. When not in the writing cave, I usually have my nose in a book or on Netflix, cut off from the world with a huge bowl of ice cream.

Where to Find Karina Espinosa
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Amazon

Giveaway
Two $10 Amazon Gift Cards open internationally
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Spotlight – Heather Hildenbrand

Author Heather Hildenbrand

Author Heather Hildenbrand

I’m delighted to spotlight author, Heather Hildenbrand, today. Here is a little about Heather:

Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I’m pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry – and fussing at my kids. I’m a multi-tasker.

For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit my website. www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com. I love hearing from readers!

Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I’d grab is my DVR player!

Where to Find Heather Hildenbrand
GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

Books
The Dirty Blood Series

The Clone Chronicles Series

A Risk Worth Taking

Across the Galaxy

Whisper

The Specials Series

Young Adult Book Review – All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones Series) by Ali Dean

All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones #2) by Ali Dean

All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones #2) by Ali Dean

Synopsis
(This is the second book in the Pepper Jones series. The following description contains spoilers for Pepped Up, which should be read first.)

Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple. But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much.

At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing. The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season.

Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.

*This book contains mature content.*

My Review
I devoured this book. I picked it up the minute I finished Pepped Up, the first book in the series, and couldn’t put it down. I read while we were supposed to be watching a movie, while riding in the car, and on my iPhone while waiting in line to check out. Now that I’m done and I don’t have a third book to start, I’m sad. But in a good way. Ali Dean is a fresh voice in the young adult genre and I can’t get enough of her.

All Pepped Up picks up right where Pepped Up ends. Pepper is dealing with the highs and lows of dating her lifelong friend and “it” boy, Jace. Saying Jace got around before he hooked up with Pepper would be an understatement, and not everyone is happy to have to give him up. As Pepper comes to terms with her running career on the heels of winning a national championship in cross, she has to cope with jealousy, trust issues, and a few changes in Jace’s life she never saw coming.

Plot
Once again, Ali Dean does a masterful job of weaving the running through the romance. Whereas before, the running plot was more of a straight-shot track-style run, this time, it takes a meandering, cross/trail course as Pepper tries to find her footing in the spring track season. The romance plot is more streamlined this time around, although never smooth. Even though Jace and Pepper are dating, the thread of angst makes this yet another delicious young adult romance that kept me turning page after page.

Characters
Pepper did a lot of growing in the first book, so it was nice to see she still had some room to develop. She is fast becoming one of my favorite young adult characters. She’s just so down to earth and honest. I also loved the see Jace and Wes evolving and watching them react to the way their friendship with each other and with Pepper has changed. A subplot, which I won’t spoil, has Jace doing the most growing up we’ve seen so far. He’s still a long way from where he needs to be, but he’s trying and he so desperately wants to be the boy Pepper deserves, it’s just so dang sweet to watch.

Bottom Line
Once again, Ali Dean delivers a solid young adult romance with heart. I’m looking forward the third book. I haven’t been this excited about a young adult series since Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout. So if you’re reading this, Ali Dean, write faster!

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones #2)
Author: Ali Dean
Release Date: July 10, 2014
Pages: 187
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

About the Author
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin babies, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

Where to Find Ali Dean
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Young Adult Book Review – Pepped Up (Pepper Jones Series) by Ali Dean

Pepped Up by Ali Dean

Synopsis
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.

Pepped Up is the first in a series that follows Pepper through high school and into college. All Pepped Up, the second book in the Pepper Jones series, will be released on July 11, 2014.

*This book contains mature content.*

My Review
I absolutely loved this book. Everything about it. It’s dripping with angst, has strong characters, an edge of your seat romance, and a fabulous running subplot. I ran track in high school, although not cross, but I could still identify with the race day jitters, the high of competition, and choices you have to make in your social life during the season. But really, anyone who participated in any high school sport will be able to relate.

There is so much to love about Pepper’s story. She’s deeply, hopelessly in love with the her best childhood friend, Jace, who is the school slut, star football player, and all around big man on campus. He’s the boy all the girls want and most have had, but Pepper’s more like a little sister to him. When reigning boys’ national cross champ, Ryan Harding, arrives in town and sparks fly between him and Pepper, Jace’s actions might be indicative of deeper feelings. Or maybe his overprotectiveness is about something else entirely.

Plot
The story moves along at a clipped pace that would rival any cross country track meet. Unrequited teen love is the hallmark of the genre, and yet author, Ali Dean, manages to kick it up to about a 10-1/2 on the angst scale. Perfectly so. Nothing feels overdone and the twists and turns she throws in kept me reading way past midnight several nights in a row.

Characters
Pepper’s mixed feelings for the two boys in her life could easily make her the kind of girl we all love to bag on. But she’s strong and she grows in such a believably realistic fashion, that we know her heart is always in the right place.

Jace is flawed in every sense of the word and yet we never stop hoping he’ll pull himself together and be the boy that Pepper believes him to be.

Ryan is adorably perfect, and yet we still want Pepper to be with Jace. The rest of the cast all do their part to mix it up and raise the stakes. A few come off as archetypes, but just because the stereotypical mean girl is a young adult staple, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We all knew at least one when we were in high school.

Bottom Line
I adored Pepper’s story, the characters, and the passion this book managed to elicit in me. So much so, that as soon as I finished it, I started All Pepped Up, the second book in the series. This is definitely one of the best pure teen romances I’ve read in awhile.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Pepped Up (Pepper Jones #1)
Author: Ali Dean
Release Date: November 16, 2013
Pages: 322
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin babies, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

Where to Find Ali Dean
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

 

Guest Post + Giveaway – Molly O’Keefe, Author of Between the Sheets

Between the Sheets Blog Tour

A special thank you to author, Molly O’Keefe, for today’s guest post. To find out more about Molly and her book, Between the Sheets, see below.

Guest Post: Interview with Casey from Between the Sheets

Casey is a fourteen year old boy who was sent into foster care after his mom was arrested when he was eleven. Taking his own future in hand he sought out his Dad, Wyatt Svenson who never knew Casey existed. This interview takes places two years after the end of BETWEEN THE SHEETS.

MOK: Hey Casey, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Casey: No problem! Mom said I didn’t have to, but it would be a good idea.

MOK: Mom?
Casey: Shelby. That’s what I call her.

MOK: Awesome, and what about Ty, what do you call him?
Casey: A pain in my butt? Can I say that?

MOK: You can say whatever you like. I heard you guys were working on a bike together.
Casey: We are! A sweeeeet little Night Hawk. It’s almost done. Mom’s freaking out because I’m only fourteen but Dad told her that we would wait until I had my licence.

MOK: That’s funny, because I heard you were riding it out on the dirt roads south of Bishop with Ty.
Casey: (looking remarkably guilty and a little bit scared) Are you going to tell her?

MOK: Your secret is safe with me. So, you guys are doing all right.
Casey: (staring down at his shoes for a second) You know when I walked to Ty’s shop so I could get out of that foster home I was in, I thought maybe things would get better for me. It’s not like they could get worse. But I never thought this would happen.

MOK: What do you mean?
Casey: Like a family. A real one. We took a vacation this summer to the Grand Canyon! And we stayed in hotels with swimming pools and we went to restaurants and Dad let me eat like seven million orders of fried shrimp and Mom didn’t even say anything about vegetables!

MOK: Sounds like a good family vacation. How was the Grand Canyon?
CASEY: Have you ever seen it? It’s so wide and so big you can’t see the edge of it. Someday Dad and I are going to go back and hike to the bottom of it. Mom said how amazing it must have been to be the first person to see it. And I said, I bet it was a little scary too. Amazing and scary all together. And then Dad said I know what that’s like – but he was looking at us, so you totally know he was talking about me. And Mom.

MOK: Your mom started crying, didn’t she?
CASEY: Totally crying. Like bawling all over the place. Someone walked by and gave us a kleenex. It was embarrassing.

MOK: I hear you’ve got some more great news.
Casey: (Doing this excited clap thing that only proves that he’s still part kid) We’re going to have a baby!

MOK: Congratulations!
CASEY: Oh my god, it’s so cool. SO COOL. Mom thinks it’s a boy. Dad thinks it’s a girl. I don’t even care. At all.

MOK: You sound excited. How much longer until you find out?
Casey: The baby is due next month. Cora and Sean are going to have a baby too! Did you know that? She’s super sick, Sean says all she can eat are popsicles. So it’s like baby crazy right now. Just tons of baby crap everywhere you go between Mom and Cora and Brody and Ashley’s twins and Jackson and Monica’s kid.

MOK: Sounds kind of happy, if you ask me.
Casey: It is. It totally is. We still do this counseling thing once a month, Mom and Dad and me. And sometimes Mom gets really sad about her mom, and Dad gets angry about Vanessa – she’s my birth mom – but mostly…Mostly it’s just really really awesome.

___________________________

Between the Sheets (The Boys of Bishop Series #3) by Molly O'Keefe

Between the Sheets (The Boys of Bishop Series #3) by Molly O’Keefe

About the Book
Title: Between the Sheets (Boys of Bishop Series #3)
Author: Molly O’Keefe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Perfect for readers of Susan Mallery and Rachel Gibson, Between the Sheets is Molly O’Keefe’s final book in the Boys of Bishop trilogy, featuring a sizzling romance between a sexy motorcycle bad boy and the girl next door who can’t resist him.

After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made.

Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.

Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.

“Molly O’Keefe is a unique, not-to-be-missed voice in romantic fiction.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Andersen

Wild Child (Boys of Bishop Series #1) by Molly O'Keefe

Wild Child (Boys of Bishop Series #1) by Molly O’Keefe

About Book 1
Title: Wild Child (Boys of Bishop Series #1)
Author: Molly O’Keefe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography.

Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.

Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing.

Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.

Never Been Kissed (Boys of Bishop Series #2) by Molly O'Keefe

Never Been Kissed (Boys of Bishop Series #2) by Molly O’Keefe

About Book 2
Title: Never Been Kissed (Boys of Bishop Series #2)
Author: Molly O’Keefe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, Molly O’Keefe’s second novel in her exciting new series—The Boys of Bishop—features an irresistible romance and unforgettable characters in a page-turning story that delivers equal parts emotion and humor . . . with a little edge to boot.

As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.

Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.

I read Never Been Kissed and loved it. You can read my review here.

About the Author
Molly O’Keefe is the RITA Award winning author of over 25 books and novellas. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, two kids and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America.

Where to Find Molly O’Keefe
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway
3 winners will receive an ebook copy of WILD CHILD and NEVER BEEN KISSED.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – The Accidental Kiss (The Kiss Series) by Nicole Simone

The Accidental Kiss Blog Tour

The Accidental Kiss (The Kiss Series #1) by Nicole Simone

The Accidental Kiss (The Kiss Series #1) by Nicole Simone

Synopsis

They were like fire and ice.

But he was everything she didn’t know she needed.

Marked by tragedy, Sky Noel leaves Los Angeles with her mom to start anew in Castor, a small town in Louisiana. It was supposed to be Sky’s chance to have a normal life but she soon finds out normal isn’t written in her DNA.

When a mysterious boy named Daemon shakes up Sky’s fragile hold on reality, she is thrust into a world where zombies and voodoo not only exist in the pages of a novel. They are hidden in the darkest corners where danger lurks and death awaits. With a price on her head, Sky has to put her trust in the boy with the ocean blue eyes but is Daemon everything she was warned against and more?

Tricked into selling his soul, Daemon lives out his existence at the mercy of the voodoo priest. That is until one fateful night when his path is forever changed.

Desperate to atone for his sins, Daemon brings it upon himself to protect Sky at any cost. However, a secret hidden in his past could rip away the very person who makes him feel human again.

My Review
There are a lot of similarities between The Accidental Kiss and other young adult paranormal novels I’ve read recently, right down to an incredibly sexy, cocky guy with green eyes named Daemon. But there are enough differences that this book stands on its own. I love the Santeria angle, and the fact that it’s set in southern Louisiana is another plus for me. And yes, the Sublime song does dance happily in my head throughout the book. When they go into the Cat’s Meow in the French Quarter, complete with girls dancing in cages, I actually squealed. It’s one of my all-time favorite places in New Orleans!

Plot
The plot has a lot of unique angles for the genre. I loved that I never knew what was going to happen next. Where the story really works is in the world Nicole Simone has created. She’s done a lot of work building a realm for her characters and she doles out information, as necessary, to move the story forward. While I like the romantic angle between Daemon and Sky, there isn’t anything really new there. And that might be what bothered me the most. His brooding, her lust for him, his determined need to protect her, the obstacles that keep them apart…it all felt too familiar. But because the other elements in the story book so well, I was able to overlook that aspect and enjoy the story.

Characters
Even though I found Sky and Daemon to be sort of typical for the genre, I thought the supporting cast was fun and more developed than I’m used to. Just because Sky and Daemon weren’t anything particularly unique, doesn’t mean I didn’t like them or root for them, because I did.

Bottom Line
If you like young adult paranormal, you should enjoy The Accidental Kiss. It has enough unique elements to make it very enjoyable and enough plot twists to keep you guessing.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: The Accidental Kiss
Author: Nicole Simone
Series: The Kiss Series #1
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Pages: 249
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Author Nicole Simone

Author Nicole Simone

About the Author
Nicole Simone works in digital media by day and at night, pens character driven romance novels that will make your mama blush. She lives in Los Angeles, C.A with her fat bulldog named Humphrey.

Where to Find Nicole Simone
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Pinterest

Giveaway
$40 Amazon Gift Card and Book Inspired Keychain

 

Author Spotlight – Sarah Ashley Jones

Author Sarah Ashley Jones

Author Sarah Ashley Jones

I’m delighted to spotlight author, Sarah Ashley Jones today. Here is a little about Sarah in her own words:

I’m Sarah! I’m a total goofball. This is pretty much the most important thing to know about me. Just kidding! I may be an adult but I have the heart of a child. I know when to be serious but I’m a hard worker with serious control issues, and maybe a splash of wit and a side of sassy. I’m addicted to Coca-Cola, obsessed with cupcakes, and also a Chapstick hoarder.

When I’m not writing, I’m probably rounding up my crazy clan of four dogs or adventuring around town with my husband who encourages me to embrace me inner outdoors woman by fishing, camping, canoeing, and hiking. 

I’m a huge nerd, so please feel free to send me a friends request, email, or leave a comment. I will jump for joy any time of of those things happen. I am blessed beyond belief with all the love and support I have received this past year and I thank all of you for that!

Books

Promise Me This (Promise Me #1) by Sarah Ashley Jones

Promise Me This (Promise Me #1) by Sarah Ashley Jones

Promise Me This
Series:
Promise Me #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 17, 2013
Pages: 289
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis
Welcome to the South – where the tea is sweet and the accents are sweeter. This Southern way of life is all Charlie has ever known. It’s not until she loses the only person who pushed her to break free of the Southern Belle mold that she starts living the life she needs and not the life her parents forced on her.

Jhett has lived on the edge for as long as he could remember – constantly teetering back and forth between being a rock star and living a normal life. His rebellious and sometimes arrogant attitude is known to get him into trouble, especially with the girls who hang on his every move.

Charlie never thought that a trip to pack up her brother’s apartment would leave her feeling even more unsettled about the grainy details of her brother’s death.

Her quest for information leads her straight to his old hangout and into arms of Jhett, who suspiciously knows more about her situation than he ever should.

Only a few questions remain – Can you trust someone based on their word alone? And if you make a promise, how far will you go to keep it?

Promise Me Forever (Promise Me #1.5) by Sarah Ashley Jones

Promise Me Forever (Promise Me #1.5) by Sarah Ashley Jones

Promise Me Forever
Series:
 
Promise Me #1.5
Genre: 
Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 
March 17, 2014
Pages: 
76
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis
Charlie Jennings and Jhett Hudson knew that a single moment could change everything.

It took them one song to find each other, one question to give them a chance, one kiss to fall in love, and one night to almost lose it all. But they had one thing other couples lack – pure, unconditional love – and that takes more than a moment to walk away from.

Falling in love is only the beginning. Forever is what happens next.

Where to Find Sarah Ashley Jones
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

New Adult Book Review – Restraint (Revelation Series) by Randi Cooley Wilson

Restraint (Revelation Series #2) by Randi Cooley Wilson

Restraint (Revelation Series #2) by Randi Cooley Wilson

Synopsis
A FORBIDDEN LOVE WILL BECOME DEEPER.

A LOYALTY WILL BE TESTED.

AND ONLY DARKNESS WILL REMAIN.

One revelation changed everything, turning Eve Collin’s world upside down with grief and questions of identity and allegiance. Now as she flees enemies that refuse to give up, Eve must also face the mounting attraction between herself and her gargoyle protector. Will she ever truly be safe? How much will she sacrifice to survive and who will she become?

Restraint is an addictive pleasure a spellbinding continuation of Eve’s journey of self-discovery, love and sacrifice.

Readers captivated by Revelation will eagerly devour Restraint.

Restraint is volume two in The Revelation Series.

My Review
Restraint is more intense, more action-packed, steamier, and more heartbreaking than Revelation. The story picks up on the heels of the tragic loss of Aria as Eve tries to deal not only with her grief, but the guilt she feels over Aria’s death. Asher is forbidden to love Eve and Eve feels her preoccupation with Asher is partly to blame for what happened to Aria, so they both must exercise restraint when it comes to the other. With these two, that’s easier said than done.

Lucifer is after Eve and he’s got a legion of dark followers to help him. Eve has her gargoyles, and her ascension powers. And then there’ all that unresolved sexual tension which drives many of the best moments in the book.

Plot
I thought the plot was more gripping than Revelation. Revelation was about Eve discovering who she is and what she’s to become. But now that she knows, we really get into the meat of the action. Between that and the insanely hot scenes between Eve and Asher, Restraint was hard to put down. And I’ll admit, I’m dying read about Eve’s experience with Asher’s, er….piercing…

Characters
The characters are true to form. There is some development, but not a ton. And I think that’s okay at this stage. Restraint is more about plot development than character development. I’m still intrigued by Gage, still love Asher, and still want to see Eve succeed. I’m beginning to soften toward McKenna and might be secretly in love with Callan. One of the best scenes in the book involves Callan, sexual frustration, and lots of baked goods.

Bottom Line
Restraint is a solid follow up to Revelation that furthers the plot in intense fashion. If you like your paranormal romances on the steamy side, this is right up your alley.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Title: Restraint (Revelation Series #2)
Author: Randi Cooley Wilson
Release Date: July 23, 2014
Pages: 250
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Author Randi Cooley wilson

Author Randi Cooley wilson

About the Author
Randi was born and raised in Massachusetts where she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. After graduation she moved to California where she lived happily bathed in sunshine and warm weather for fifteen years.

Randi and her husband recently moved back to Massachusetts with their daughter where she was encouraged to begin writing again.

Revelation is her first novel and The Revelations Series is her first New Adult Paranormal Romance book series.

“I’ve had a love affair with books, writing and storytelling since childhood. It has been a dream of mine to introduce this world and these characters to you. I hope I’ve done them justice.”

Randi loves to hear from readers, you can reach out to her via Twitter: R_CooleyWilson and/or Facebook: authorrandicooleywilson

Where to Find Randi Cooley Wilson
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter