Book Review + Giveaway – Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

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Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

5 Stars

Synopsis
Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but whatnobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure.

But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

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My Review
This book is intense! In a good way. I waffled on 4-1/2 or 5 stars, because it’s not perfect and I like to save 5 stars for perfect, but this book has more feels than almost anything else I’ve read lately. And the longer I read it, the more perfect it became. Regan’s journey is so satisfying because I disliked her so much in the beginning. But I was four chapters in and ready to stuff my head in an oven I was so depressed. It went from sucky, to horrific, to oh my god can we please just end the misery, in five short chapters. But then something happened and I found that spark of hope I was looking for. And I’m not talking about the story, I’m talking about Regan’s life. The girl I didn’t care about because she was a self-absorbed narcissist. Except Cole Gibsen makes me care about her when I shouldn’t.

Regan is the queen bee of St. Mary’s, a Catholic high school with more girl drama than Mean Girls and Heathers combined. Having attended not one, but two Catholic high schools, I can attest this is a real thing. And her portrayal was spot on. But Regan’s world comes crashing down around her when an even meaner girl, Amber, decides to make Regan’s life a living hell, the same way Regan has done to countless other girls over the years.

Regan grows and develops so believably through the book, I’m won over. What I love is how the author got me there. Regan is every bitchy mean girl, and yet we’re allowed to see her insecurities, we get a behind-the-scenes look at why she is the way she is and it’s powerful. I rooted for her more because she became the ultimate underdog. Sure, she has her flaws, serious, ugly, heinous flaws, and yet I understand why she did the things she did. I wanted to see her fight back, redeem herself, and better yet, to not be the girl she was before, but better in all the right ways.

World Building
I attended two Catholic high schools, one in Ohio and the other in San Diego. The one in Ohio required the uniforms, conformity, conservative ideology. The one in San Diego, much less so. My high school here was more about status where designer clothes ruled the hallways and the parking lot was crammed with brand new BMWs, gifts for sweet sixteen birthdays. St. Mary’s seems to be a blend of my two schools, but it helped me relate. The one thing I realized both schools have in common is that Catholic students swear, bully, smoke, and get pregnant just like public school kids. And I think Cole Gibsen so perfectly captured that in Life Unaware, I almost felt transported back in time.

Plot
The primary plot revolves around Regan’s fall from grace and ultimate redemption, but her relationship with her best friend, Peyton’s older brother, Nolan is raw and powerful and threads through the main plot like a binding stitch, holding everything loosely together. The story moves from the opening pages, and as difficult as it is to read at times, it packs a solid emotional punch, forcing us to look at the world of bullying through the eyes of the bully as well as the victim. It’s easy to paint the bully as the bad guy, but no one is a two-dimensional cardboard character. Amber, as cruel as she can be, has her own issues and it’s hard not to feel for her, too.

Characters
The characters are incredibly well developed with solid motivations that drive their actions. Regan especially is so incredibly three-dimensional, it’s hard to remember she’s just a figment of Cole Gibsen’s imagination. But even Payton, Amber, Christy, Nolan and her parents have their own arcs and issues that tell us who they are and why the tick the way they do.

The Writing
The author’s voice is fresh and youthful, but what I really loved were her similies and metaphors. Her unique turn of phrase took me deep into the story and rooted me there.

The Ending
I liked the ending, although I don’t know that I loved it. But it was realistic. And emotional. In a good way. I don’t know what I would want to make it better. My first thought was an epilogue, but I’m not sure that fits with what the author was trying to accomplish. The fact that I’m still thinking about the messages and the characters this long after finishing is the sign of a good ending, even if it’s not a perfect one. With more time to mull it over, I may decide it’s a brilliant ending.

Top Five Things I Loved About Life Unaware
1. The Video Apology. The video Regan and Nolan make in his room is so raw and real, it only made me love them both more.

2. Christy. She was so vulnerable, it was hard not to love her.

3. Regan. Watching her go from who she was on page one to who she became was one of the best character journeys I’ve read in a long time.

4. Nolan. Sure, he’s not perfect, but neither is Regan. I love Nolan, warts and all. His heart is in the right place most of the time.

5. Payton. She’s a great best friend. Yeah, again, not perfect, but she was there when it mattered and that’s what counts.

Bottom Line
Life Unaware is an intense young adult tale of redemption and forgiveness with complex characters that are hard not to love. Eventually.

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

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About the Book
Title: Life Unaware
Author: Cole Gibsen
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | BAM! | indieBound | Powell’s

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Author Cole Gibsen

Author Cole Gibsen

About the Author
Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen.

Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Where to Find Cole Gibsen
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Release Day + Giveaway – Savor (The Empire Chronicles) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

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Today is release day for Alyssa Rose Ivy’s Savor, the fourth book in her new adult fantasy paranormal Empire Chronicles. See below for a description of the book, buy links, an excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

Savor (The Empire Chronicles #4) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Savor (The Empire Chronicles #4) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

About the Book
Title: Savor
Series: The Empire Chronicles #4
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Genre: New Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
Jared is Vera’s perfect man—until he opens his mouth.

An incredible body and set of wings can only go so far when everything he says seems designed to make her mad.

Still, she can’t deny her intense attraction or the fact that he is the closest thing she has to a friend.

Jared doesn’t go for bear shifters, especially ones that are related to his ex, but he can’t resist Vera’s charm or the way she understands him better than anyone else.

As suspicions build and loyalties are tested, Vera and Jared realize that they may not be able to trust anyone but each other.

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Excerpt
“I’m glad you don’t want me dead.” He smirked. Even his smirk was sexy.

“I’d be on my own if you were.” I put my hands behind my head.

“And you don’t like being alone?” He studied me in the darkness. Sometimes I wished neither of us had night vision. It left you so naked, never having an opportunity to hide.

“I do most of the time.”

“But not always?” His eyes raked over my body. The fact that he could make such a platonic conversation feel sexual gave me even more reason to resist him.

“Why does it matter?” Often the best way to avoid a question is to ask your own.

“It matters because I asked it.” And there went his mouth again.

My annoyance gave me back my will power. “Put a shirt on.”

“Why?” He grinned. “Am I distracting you?”

“No, but we should go. The sun will be up soon enough.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t go with you.” He sat up, swinging his legs off the side of the bed.

“No way.” I moved to standing. “You’re not backing out.”

“Why do you care?” He stood with his back to me. “You can do this alone.”

“Of course I can.”

He turned to me. “Then why does it matter if I go my own way?” He pulled on his t-shirt, and a little part of me missed the view.

“Because we agreed to help each other out. I stick to my promises.” That was one of my good traits. The not so good traits weren’t worth reflecting on.

“Maybe I don’t.”

“You do.” I put a hand on my hip. I didn’t have time for Jared’s games.

“How do you know?”

“I just do.”

“You’re infuriating.”

I groaned. “And what are you?”

“Charming.”

If I’d had liquid in my mouth I would have spit it out. “Not exactly the word I’d use to describe you.”

“Says the girl begging me to stay with her.”

“I never begged.” I crossed my arms over my chest.

“Would you beg?” His grin was his undoing.

“Is that how you like it, Jared? With your women begging?”

“I wasn’t talking about how I like my women.”

“Are you sure about that?” I grabbed my backpack and headed into the cabin’s small bathroom.

“Where are you going?”

I paused with my hand on the door. “To shower.”

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Savor - Teaser

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Author Alyssa Rose Ivy

Author Alyssa Rose Ivy

About the Author
Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting.

Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Where to Find Alyssa Rose Ivy
Goodreads | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Release Day – Fall for Me (Ladder Company) by JC Emery

Fall For Me Release Day

Today is finally release day for Fall for Me, the first book in the new contemporary romance series, Ladder Company, by JC Emery. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and a few teasers.

Fall for Me (Ladder Company #1) by JC Emery

Fall for Me (Ladder Company #1) by JC Emery

About the Book:
Title:
Fall for Me
Series: The Ladder Company #1
Author: JC Emery
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis
Melanie Kincaid is a trust-fund baby with a knack for sassy comebacks and unnecessarily complicating her privileged life. So, of course she would have to fall in love with a man she can’t have.

Jameson Hayes is a NYC firefighter for Manhattan’s oldest ladder company with big shoes to fill and a city to protect. He’s strong, sexy, and not looking for the complications Melanie brings. But he can’t stay away from her either.

The attraction between them is immediate and the pull between them is crazy powerful. But she’s only home for the summer and long-distance relationships never work.

Unfortunately, Melanie’s beauty and smart mouth are a lethal combination and Jameson isn’t the only Hayes who’s interested. As if his brother isn’t enough to compete with, now the city’s most famous arsonist wants to claim her as his next prize. Jameson can’t stand to watch Melanie get hurt and she can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble.

Fall for Me is the first Ladder Company novel, a stand-alone companion series about New York’s most elite firefighting family with hot alpha heroes, snarky heroines, and an arsonist hell-bent on destruction.

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Fall for Me Teaser 1

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Excerpt
“Mom!” I move through the foyer and into the open great room— a large, open living/kitchen combo— where I leave my suitcase and kick off my flats before I hit the carpet. What the hell is she doing with gas? That stuff is toxic.

“Well?” Mom says, appearing at the edge of the hall on the other side of the kitchen. She has a hand towel around her neck and one of her many yoga-specific exercise outfits on. This one is a light blue and she’s barefoot. Monica Kincaid is dedicated to many things in life— her husband Christian, her daughters (the youngest, especially), and her charity projects— but yoga is the one out of all of it that I don’t understand. It puts her at peace, she says.

“Well?” I ask and drape the dress bag over the island counter top in the kitchen and move around to prop myself up on one of the bar stools. God, that gasoline smell is driving me mad.

“Are we planning a spring wedding yet or what?” Mom says with a grin. Her nose wrinkles, catching the scent of the gasoline, I’m sure. “Janet and I have been taking bets.”

“God, Mom,” I say and place my head in my hands.

“No really,” she says, “Tell me.”

“Nothing happened,” I say. Verbalizing it is even more disappointing than it probably should be. Apparently, Mom and Dad were also in on Jameson and Royal’s surprise trip. It took all of an hour after they landed for Janet Hayes to text me telling me she wishes she could have been there. It was sweet, but then she suggested she needed to leave me alone so I could spend as much time as possible with Jameson. And that we shouldn’t be disturbed. While the level of investment our mothers have in our has-yet-to-happen relationship is borderline creepy, the support is pretty awesome. It’s a rarity to find a woman as kind and loving as Janet Hayes is. Even if she doesn’t really know appropriate boundaries and likes to talk about when her sons were starting puberty… in all the gory details. I know more about Jameson’s solo activities when he was a kid more than I care to.

“You must be joking,” she says and heads to the fridge where she pulls out a single-serve cup of yogurt. “That man flew down to that god-awful place—,”

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Fall For Me Teaser 2

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Author JC Emery

Author JC Emery

About the Author
As a child, JC was fascinated by things that went bump in the night. As they say, some things never change. Now, as an adult, she divides her time between the sexy law men, mythical creatures, and kick-ass heroines that live inside her head and pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English.

JC is a San Francisco Bay Area native, but has also called both Texas and Louisiana home. These days she rocks her flip flops year round in Northern California and can’t imagine a climate more beautiful.

JC writes adult, new adult, and young adult fiction. She dabbles in many different genres including science fiction, horror, chick lit, and murder mysteries, yet she is most enthralled by supernatural stories– and everything has at least a splash of romance.

Where to Find J.C. Emery
Website | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads
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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – Pros and Cons by Sydney Logan

Pros and Cons Blog Tour

Welcome to the next stop on the Pros & Cons blog tour. Pros & Cons is a contemporary romance by Sydney Logan. I have an excerpt for you today. See blow for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details  on her giveaway.

Pros & Cons by Sydney Logan

Pros & Cons by Sydney Logan

About the Book
Title: Pros & Cons
Author: Sydney Logan
Publisher: Mountain Media
Release Date: February 21, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Con artists Jenna York and Ethan Summers always seem to cross paths during their travels around the world.

With their partners in tow, the cunning criminals wreak havoc across the globe, stealing from the rich and giving to the richer.

While Jenna tries to convince herself that she sees him as nothing more than a professional rival, Ethan finds it a little harder to fight his attraction to the beautiful thief.

When tragedy strikes, Jenna and Ethan join forces, but are the stakes too high?

Can they escape this last job with their lives—and their hearts—intact?

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Excerpt
“It’s this girl.”

“A girl?” My mother’s face brightens.

“Yeah, but it’s complicated.”

“Love usually is.”

I snort. “Love? This isn’t love. This is . . .”

Intense sexual attraction to the point of pain.

“Lust?” Mom smiles knowingly.

I frown. “No, it’s not that, either. Not entirely, anyway.”

“So it’s somewhere between love and lust.”

“It’s far, far away from love. Eons away from love.”

“Hmm.”

I’m immediately on the defensive. That hum is what she reserves for her patients—or for me—when she doesn’t believe what we’re saying.

“Don’t do that. Don’t hum. I am not in love with this girl.”

Mom raises her hands in surrender. “Okay, you’re not in love with this girl.”

“Thank you.”

“But she’s obviously gotten under your skin. You look like someone who’s lost their puppy. Your hair is standing on end—a sure sign you’re frustrated. And you haven’t touched your pancakes.

“Maybe I’m just not hungry.”

“Hmm.”

“Fine! I can’t stop thinking about her, and I don’t have the first clue what to do about it.”

Chuckling softly, Mom pours me another glass of juice. “Why don’t you tell me about her, and then maybe we’ll figure out what you should do about it.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Whatever you want to share. I know how private you are.”

“You know why I have to be.”

“For our protection. And for yours. I know. But just this once, I’d love if you’d let me be your mother. So please tell me what it is about this girl that has you twisted into such knots.”

I’m really not sure where to start, so I go with the basics.

“Her name’s Jenna.”

Too basic, if the shocked expression on my mother’s face is any indication. Naturally, she’d recognize the name.

“Jenna York?”

I nod.

Mom sighs. “And here I was hoping this girl might actually convince you to leave this life behind. Of course you’d fall for another con artist. You do remember that Bonnie and Clyde got shot in the end, don’t you?”

“We aren’t Bonnie and Clyde, and I haven’t fallen for her.”

Mom eyes me skeptically before waving for me to continue.

“Anyway,” I mutter, already regretting this, “there’s a connection there. We understand each other on a level that nobody else can.”

“I’ll bet.”

“Do you want to hear this or not?”

Mom reaches over and pats my hand. “I’m sorry. Of course I do. Tell your story. I’ll keep my opinions to myself.”

“What story?” Dad asks, making his way into the kitchen. Mom springs from her seat to pour him a cup of coffee. “Good morning, Ethan.”

“Morning.”

Dad kisses Mom’s cheek, and she hands him an omelet.

“Thank you, sweetheart. So?” he asks as he takes his place at the table. “What story?”

“Ethan’s having trouble with a girl.”

His head swivels toward me. “Is that so? You know, son, I always thought a girl was exactly what you needed. A sweet, sensible girl who can convince you to settle down and start living a normal life.”

Mom laughs, and that’s when I officially give up.

“Enjoy your breakfast. I’m going to the den.”

“But you didn’t eat your—”

“I’ll eat later.”

I head downstairs and search through the media cabinet until I find the stack of video games I played as a teenager. The next hour is spent playing Grand Theft Auto, and it’s just the violent distraction I need to take my mind off everything. Conversations with my parents always make me nuts. While I’m used to discussions about my chosen profession, I’m not prepared to talk to them about my feelings for Jenna.

Whatever those feelings might be.

Even the game bores me after a while, so I toss my controller aside and reach for my cell. I quickly scan through my messages. There’s nothing from her—not that I really expected there to be. There is a text from Coop that looks interesting . . . something about a Greek billionaire eager to get his hands on some diamond. Technically, we’re on vacation, so I make a mental note to ask for details later.

I keep scrolling until I find the message I’m looking for, and I can’t help but grin at the picture of Jenna and the Mexican waitress. Their kiss was silly. Nothing more than a joke.

Our kiss wasn’t a joke. Not at all.

I decide to send her a message.

I can still taste your lip gloss.

It’s only after I hit send that I realize I really can taste it, and I want to taste it again.

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Author Sydney Logan

Author Sydney Logan

About the Author
Amazon best-selling author Sydney Logan holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.

She is the author of five novels – Lessons Learned, Mountain Charm, Soldier On, Once Upon a December, and Pros & Cons.

Sydney has also penned several short stories and is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul.

A native of East Tennessee, Sydney enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.

Where to find Sydney Logan
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Special Announcement from Cora Carmack, Author of the Rusk University Series

Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement: ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!! Check out this message from Cora!

All Closed Off

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven’t yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I’m not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

Hello beloved readers!

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was “Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?”

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They’d make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end… I couldn’t envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again).

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It’s a wonderful experience, but in Stella’s case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports.

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said… Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, “Mine. This is my story.” I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn’t take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn’t want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn’t mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, “Someone needs to tell this story. And I’m strong enough to do it. Let me.” And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I’d been adamant wasn’t right for her. Because as it turns out… Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren’t so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before.

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It’s about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It’s about the way that kind of event can change everything– how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It’s about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you’re still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light.

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book…

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ALL CLOSED OFF:

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.

Vulnerable.

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ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don’t have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I’ll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I’ll be able to ensure that I’m able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won’t be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you’ll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links.

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella’s story. When it’s finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do.

All my best,

Cora Carmack

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

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WhatHappened

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her.  Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance.

If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard….

If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through….

If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours…

I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself.

So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening.

#WhenItHappened Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/4VRjWgZYSW

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Author Cara Carmack

Author Cara Carmack

About the Author
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters.

She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing).

She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet.

In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.

Where to Find Cora Carmack
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon
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Cover Reveal – Twisted Bond (Holly Woods Files) by Emma Hart

Twisted Bond Cover Reveal

New York Times bestselling author, Emma Hart, is unveiling the cover to Twisted Bonds, the first book in her latest new adult contemporary romance series, Holly Woods Files. Twisted Bonds releases on June 11. See below for information on the book and an exclusive excerpt.

Twisted Bond (Holly Woods Files #1) by Emma Hart

Twisted Bond (Holly Woods Files #1) by Emma Hart

About the Book
Title:
 Twisted Bonds
Series: Holly Woods Files #1
Author: Emma Hart
Release Date: June 11, 2015
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
I’m an Italian-Texan woman in a family full of cops. I’m passionate and shoot before I think. You only f*ck with me if you’re stupid.

Photograph cheating spouses. Hand over the evidence. Cash my check.

That was my plan when I returned home to Holly Woods, Texas, and became a private investigator.

Finding the dead body in my dumpster? Yeah… Given the choice, I think I would have opted out of that little discovery, especially since all three of my brothers are cops. And my Italian grandmother is sure the reason I’m single is because of my job.

Of course, my connection to the victim is entirely coincidental. Until I’m hired by her husband to investigate her murder and shoved bang-smack into the path of Detective Drake Nash. My nemesis, a persistent pain in my ass, and one hell of a sexy son of a bitch.

Shame he still holds a grudge from that time I shot him in the foot twelve years ago, or we could have something. In another life.

So now all I have to do is avoid my nonna’s blind dates, try not to blackmail my brothers into giving me confidential police files, and absolutely do not point my gun at Drake Nash. Or kiss him. Or jump his bones.

All while I hunt down the killer.

Sounds totally simple—until a second body proves that sometimes things that start as coincidences don’t always end up that way…

(Twisted Bond is book one of the Holly Woods Files series and while it does not end in a cliffhanger, it is not a standalone.)

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Excerpt
“Get out!” I yell, my voice hoarse.

“I’m sorry?” Drake recoils.

“Get out. Of my building,” I add, moving toward him as he walks backward. “If you don’t have a warrant in your ass pocket, get the fuck out. Now.”

He grabs my wrist and pulls me into him. “Listen to me, cupcake. Someone got real lucky last night, and that someone was you. You weren’t here when your killer wanted you to be. Yeah, I said yours. They know you’re waitin’ for ‘em. Most nights you’d be here, right? But last night, because I pissed your ass off, you weren’t. Know what that tells me?”

“I’m sure you’re gonna tell me,” I manage through gritted teeth.

“It tells me this killer is watching you. You ain’t safe. They’re waiting to strike, and it’s gonna be the second you’re alone. We’re close. I can feel it. You’re their target now. And this killer? They want to kill you.”

“No shit,” I whisper, looking away from him. “I won’t back down. I don’t care what you say. They can try and kill me. I’ve dealt with worse.”

“Stop being a pain in my ass.” He grabs my chin and forces me to look into his eyes and all their devastatingly icy glory. “Someone. Wants. To. Kill. You.”

“I know.”

“Yet you don’t care.”

“I care,” I whisper, holding his gaze. “But did you ever think that I’m your best bet at catching this person? If they’re watching me, if they want to kill me, they’re there. Waitin’, like you said. And that means they’re gonna come to me. Not you. Not anyone else. Me.”

“Yeah, I thought it. But I don’t like it.”

“Ain’t your job to like it, Detective. It’s your job to deal with it.”

“You’re right. It ain’t my job to like it, but I ain’t exactly dealing with it either.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“It means,” he leans in, his touch relaxing just a smidge, “It means that I don’t like it. I’m not dealin’ with it. And the thought of you bein’ in the kinda danger you are scares the ever-lovin’ fuckin’ shit out of me.”

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Author Emma Hart

Author Emma Hart

About the Author
By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies – usually wine – and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

Where to Find Emma Hart

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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1 More Day! – Countdown to Fall for Me (Ladder Company) by JC Emery

Only one more day until the release of Fall for Me, the first book in JC Emery’s new contemporary romance series, Ladder Company.

Tomorrow - Fall for Me (Ladder Company #1) by JC Emery

Tomorrow – Fall for Me (Ladder Company #1) by JC Emery

About the Box Set:
Title:
Fall for Me
Series: The Ladder Company #1
Author: JC Emery
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
Melanie Kincaid is a trust-fund baby with a knack for sassy comebacks and unnecessarily complicating her privileged life. So, of course she would have to fall in love with a man she can’t have.

Jameson Hayes is a NYC firefighter for Manhattan’s oldest ladder company with big shoes to fill and a city to protect. He’s strong, sexy, and not looking for the complications Melanie brings. But he can’t stay away from her either.

The attraction between them is immediate and the pull between them is crazy powerful. But she’s only home for the summer and long-distance relationships never work.

Unfortunately, Melanie’s beauty and smart mouth are a lethal combination and Jameson isn’t the only Hayes who’s interested. As if his brother isn’t enough to compete with, now the city’s most famous arsonist wants to claim her as his next prize. Jameson can’t stand to watch Melanie get hurt and she can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble.

Fall for Me is the first Ladder Company novel, a stand-alone companion series about New York’s most elite firefighting family with hot alpha heroes, snarky heroines, and an arsonist hell-bent on destruction.

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Author JC Emery

Author JC Emery

About the Author
As a child, JC was fascinated by things that went bump in the night. As they say, some things never change. Now, as an adult, she divides her time between the sexy law men, mythical creatures, and kick-ass heroines that live inside her head and pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English.

JC is a San Francisco Bay Area native, but has also called both Texas and Louisiana home. These days she rocks her flip flops year round in Northern California and can’t imagine a climate more beautiful.

JC writes adult, new adult, and young adult fiction. She dabbles in many different genres including science fiction, horror, chick lit, and murder mysteries, yet she is most enthralled by supernatural stories– and everything has at least a splash of romance.

Where to Find J.C. Emery
Website | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads
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#1LineWed – Page 155, 55 or 15

1LineWedToday’s theme for 1 Line Wednesday, sponsored by RWA’s Kiss of Death Chapter is to post any line from page 155, 55, or 15 from my work in progress. Since my work in progress is, well, a work in progress, this required a bit of work on my part. I write in Scrivener and then send chapters as I complete them off to m y copy editor. I basically had to go through the chapters I sent off to figure out which chapter contained pages 15, 55 and 155. I’ve shared plenty from earlier chapters and wanted to go with page 155. So here it is, from The Ruins, releasing on June 16, 2015:

“What’s wrong?” I ask, unable to keep the tremor out of my voice.

He glances up at me and the pain in my eyes nearly tears me apart. “We should talk.”

You can see previous week’s themes and lines here.

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Audiobook Blitz + Giveaway – Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island) by Martina Boone

Compulsion Audiobook Blitz

Welcome to the Compulsion audiobook blitz. Compulsion is the first book in Martina Boone’s Heirs of Watson Island series from Simon & Schuster. See below for information on the audiobook, buy links, a free sample, information on Persuasion, the second book int he series, and details on her giveaway.

Compulsion Audiobook

Compulsion Audiobook

About the Book
Title: Compulsion
Series: Heirs of Watson Island #1
Author: Martina Boone
Audiobook Release Date: April 7, 2015
Narrator: Joell A. Jacob
Length: 11 hours and 29 minutes
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Tantor Audio
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndiBound | Book Depository | Target | Walmart
Audiobook Links: Audio CD via Tantor | Audio CD via Amazon | Audio via Audible

Synopsis
Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels.

But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

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Audiobook Sample

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Praise for Compulsion
“Skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure . . . An impressive start to the Heirs of Watson Island series.” —Publishers Weekly

“Eight Beaufort is so swoon-worthy that it’s ridiculous. Move over Four, Eight is here to stay!”  —RT Book Reviews, RT Editors Best Books of 2014

“Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you’ll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series.” —JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.” —CLAUDIA GRAY, New York Timesbestselling author of A Thousand Pieces of You and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

“A stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!” —WENDY HIGGINS, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy

“Beautifully written, with vivid characters, a generations-old feud, and romance that leaps off the page, this Southern ghost story left me lingering over every word, and yet wanting to race to the compelling finish. Compulsion is not to be missed.” —MEGAN SHEPHERD, author of The Madman’s Daughter

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Persuasion (The Heirs of Watson Island #2) by Martina Boone

Persuasion (The Heirs of Watson Island #2) by Martina Boone

About Book 2
Title: Persuasion
Series: Heirs of Watson Island #2
Author: Martina Boone
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndiBound | Book Depository

Synopsis
Beautiful Creatures meets Gone with the Wind in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).

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Author Martina Boone

Author Martina Boone

About the Author
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a Tumblr site devoted to news, giveaways, and insider secrets of much-loved and up-and-coming YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Where to Find Martina Boone
Goodreads | Website | Blog | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Release – Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads (Beds Series) by Becca Ann and Tessa Marie

LonsomeBedsTour

Today, we celebrate the release of Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads, a contemporary young adult romance by Becca Ann (aka Cassie Mae) and Tessa Marie (aka Theresa Paolo). I for one and dying to read this! See below for information on the book and buy links.

Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads by Becca Ann and Tessa Marie

Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads by Becca Ann and Tessa Marie

About the Book
Title:
 Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads
Series: Beds #3
Author: Becca Ann and Tessa Marie
Release Date: April 27, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Lexie Boggs has dealt with enough drama for one teenage girl, and just when she thinks it’s about over, the father who abandoned her a decade ago shows up looking for redemption. At least… that’s what he says.

Ryan Parker thinks his future is set. He’s got a sweet job set up, graduation on the horizon, and a lifetime of dreams he’s planned with his girlfriend, Lexie—including a king-sized bed for their soon-to-be apartment. Only a slight snag tugs at the fantasy when Lexie starts putting aside all she’s worked hard on for her deadbeat dad and his “sickness.”

Suddenly school is the only time spent together, and as Ryan expresses his suspicions about why Daddy Boggs is really back, Lexie pulls away, hoping Ryan is wrong but fearing he’s right. And as graduation approaches, Ryan and Lexie struggle to keep the futures they thought they had firmly intact from crumbling all over their now lonely king-sized bed.

This is the third and final installment of Lexie and Ryan’s story.

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Author Theresa Paolo

Author Theresa Paolo

About the Author
Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin).

(ONCE) AGAIN will release this summer. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series, under her pen name Tessa Marie.

She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Where to Find Tessa Marie
Goodreads | Website Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Author Cassie Mae

Author Cassie Mae

About the Author
Cassie Mae (AKA Becca Ann) is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love.

Her angel children and perfect husband fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her.

When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate

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

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Release Day – Omega City By Diana Peterfreund

Omega City Release Day Banner

Today is release day for Omega City, a book for readers eight and up. Omega City is a thrilling adventure, perfect for people who like their books with a side of rocketships and hidden treasure. Find out what secrets are hidden beneath the Maryland countryside. See below for information on the book and buy links.

Omega City by Diana Peterfreund

Omega City by Diana Peterfreund

About the Book
Title: Omega City
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | indieBound

Synopsis
The first middle grade novel in an exciting new series from acclaimed author Diana Peterfreund, perfect for fans of The Goonies and The City of Ember.

Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War–era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced them to move to the middle of nowhere, but Gillian knows he’s right and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle—a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention.

Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off on a journey into the ruins of Omega City, a vast doomsday bunker deep inside the earth,.

But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried . . . forever.

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What People are Saying
“With seamless writing, a thrilling plot, lots of engaging science puzzles, and remarkable characterization, Peterfreund’s exciting tale keeps the adventure solidly in the foreground. Young readers looking for a page turning quest should get into this planned series on the ground floor.” — Booklist *Starred* Review 

“Peterfreund’s focus on character development is complemented by the equal attention she gives to the vast underground city itself. Gillian’s instincts to protect her friends and clear her historian father’s tarnished name are admirable, but Peterfreund gives every character the opportunity to grow, revealing themselves for who they really are.”— Publishers Weekly

“With nonstop action, sly humor, and nothing short of the end of the world at stake, Omega City is the alpha book in a new series that mashes up mystery, scifi, and action/adventure into a thrilling novel you’ll want to devour in one sitting. I did, and I can’t wait to read what comes next!” — Peter Lerangis, New York Times Bestselling author of the Seven Wonders series

“Peterfreund’s boundless imagination takes on a new and exciting adventure!” – Jessica Day George, New York Times Bestselling author of Tuesdays at the Castle”

“Diana Peterfreund takes us to an underground city that’s utterly mind-blowing, yet disturbingly possible. A knockout of a story that will have readers cheering straight through to the final, shocking, twist.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman

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Author Diana Peterfreund

Author Diana Peterfreund

About the Author
Diana Peterfreund has published ten novels for adults, teens, and kids, including the four-book Secret Society Girl series (Bantam Dell), the “killer unicorn novels” Rampantand Ascendant (Harper Teen), For Darkness Shows the Stars (a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’sPersuasion), and Across a Star-Swept Sea (inspired by the classic series The Scarlet Pimpernel).

Her newest novel, OMEGA CITY, is a contemporary adventure novel for younger readers set in a secret bunker city somewhere under modern Maryland.

Her works have been named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list, the Capitol Choices (metro DC-area) reading list, and the Texas Lonestar List, as well as having been named to Amazon’s Best Books of the Year.

In addition, she’s written several critically acclaimed short stories and a variety of non-fiction essays about  popular children’s literature.

Diana lives outside Washington D.C., with her family.

Where to Find Diana Peterfreund
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Release Day + Giveaway – Dragons Are People, Too by Sarah Nicolas

Dragons are People Too Blitz

Today is release day for Dragons are People, Too, a young adult urban fantasy by Sarah Nicolas and published by Entangled Teen. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

Dragons are People, Too by Sarah Nicolas

Dragons are People, Too by Sarah Nicolas

About the Book
Title: Dragons are People, Too
Author: Sarah Nicolas
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis
Never judge a dragon
by her human cover…

Sixteen-year-old Kitty Lung has everyone convinced she’s a normal teen—not a secret government operative, not the one charged with protecting the president’s son, and certainly not a were-dragon. The only one she trusts with the truth is her best friend—and secret crush—the über-hot Bulisani Mathe.

Then a junior operative breaks Rule Number One by changing into his dragon form in public—on Kitty’s watch—and suddenly, the world knows. About dragons. About the Draconic Intelligence Command (DIC) Kitty works for. About Kitty herself.

Now the government is hunting down and incarcerating dragons to stop a public panic, and a new shape-shifting enemy has kidnapped the president’s son. Kitty and Bulisani are the last free dragons, wanted by both their allies and their enemies. If they can’t rescue the president’s son and liberate their fellow dragons before getting caught themselves, dragons might never live free again.

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Excerpt
In this scene, Kitty has just realized there’s something a little off with the girl who just rode off with the President’s son, Jacob.

“This is Draco Three. Probable threat.”

“What -” Sani begins. I cut him off with a glare and, within half of a heartbeat, a confused realization dawns on his face.

“In Midday Sun’s car. Now.” I don’t say much, but it’s enough for my contact, whose name I don’t actually know.

He pauses for maybe three seconds. It feels like an eternity. “Communication with the agents in the car is down. Can you pursue on foot?”

I start running at the word “down” and I’m already halfway down the driveway with Sani at my side when I say, “Pursuing.”

“Secure Midday Sun,” my contact orders. “At all costs.”

“Understood.” I don’t bother hanging up before dropping both the phone and my backpack on the grass. Sani has already shed his pack.

The car is gaining speed on the main road, but traffic is keeping it from escaping completely. I can run about twenty miles an hour for several miles. Sani is faster. He’s holding back to stay with me.

“Go!” I yell.

I know he wants to argue, but I’m not his friend right now. I’m his superior. To his credit, he doesn’t hesitate longer than the time it takes for a single step. His stride lengthens. It’s a matter of seconds before he’s halfway between me and the car.

The front half of the black town car explodes in a fireball. My lungs are working overtime and I gulp in the acrid scent of burning rubber and gasoline. Tires all around us squeal as brakes are slammed. Somewhere to my left, a roaring crunch echoes the explosion, as two more cars collide in a less explosive way.

Dominic pops out of the sun roof, somehow looking confused and focused at the same time. He has his side-arm in his right hand and I dare to hope the Secret Service has control of the situation. But, somewhere inside me, I know better.

Dominic raises his gun and takes aim at Sani, who’s fifty feet from the car. He fires four shots.

I let loose a primal roar as a bullet rips through Sani’s left bicep. His shoulder jerks back at the impact, but his steps don’t even falter.

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Author Sarah Nicolas

Author Sarah Nicolas

About the Author
Sarah is a 30-something YA author who currently lives in Orlando, FL with a 60-lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. She believes that some boys are worth trusting, all girls have power, and dragons are people too.

She’s a proud member of the Gator Nation and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, but has switched careers entirely. She now works as an Event Coordinator for a County Library and as a freelance book publicist and author’s assistant. She also blogs at YAtopia and video blogs at the YA Rebels

Where to Find Sarah Nicolas
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Release Day + Giveaway – Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware Blitz Banner

Today is release day for Life Unaware, a young adult contemporary romance by Cole Gibsen and published by Entangled Teen. See below for information on the book, buy links, a video guest post by the author, and details on her giveaway.

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

About the Book
Title: Life Unaware
Author: Cole Gibsen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | BAM! | indieBound | Powell’s

Synopsis
Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but whatnobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure.

But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

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Video Guest Blog
Coffee with Cole

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Author Cole Gibsen

Author Cole Gibsen

About the Author
Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen.

Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Where to Find Cole Gibsen
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Release Day + Giveaway – In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

In a World Just Right Release Day

Today is release day for A World Just Right, a young adult contemporary romance by Jen Brooks from Simon & Schuster. See below for information on the book, buy links, an excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

About the Book
Title:
 In a World Just Right
Author: Jen Brooks
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Fantasy Romance
Links: Goodreads | AmazonBarnes & Noble | iBooksindiBound

Synopsis
Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous.

As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

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Excerpt #1
This is from the opening scene of the book. In the middle of the night, worried, Jonathan goes to Kylie’s room.

I don’t actually want to talk. I want more kissing. I want more her. I reach for her hand, separate out her index finger, and draw it down the left side of my face, from my eye practically to my jaw. She doesn’t flinch, and that is exactly what I need. I pull up my shirt and place her hand on my chest, where the scarring is the worst. She moves her fingers over the snarls and craters, caresses them, then replaces my shirt and kisses the scar on my face.

Her eyes look into mine. Most people can’t look me in the eyes. The real Kylie has never looked me in the eyes, but this Kylie seeps into me with a gaze. She is not disgusted by me. She loves me.

She puts a finger to the scar on my face. “Is this bothering you again?”

“I don’t know.” Actually, that’s a lie. What’s bothering me is the weird cosmic whisper I got just before I came here, which scared me more than my near-death memories, but I do not discuss cosmic topics with Kylie.

Thankfully, she rolls with my faked ignorance and stays focused on my scar. “It’s just a line.” She moves a little deeper into the covers and puts her head on my chest, ear to my heart. “And evidence that you’re a miracle.”

I enfold her in my arms and say nothing. No one in the real world cares that I’m a miracle, not since the doctors congratulated themselves and discharged me.

“Seriously,” she says, and I can feel her words vibrate against my chest. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Talking won’t help. Sometimes the truth cannot set you free. Sometimes, when the night is bad and the universe taunts me, I just need to be with my girlfriend.

“I feel better now,” I say.

Kylie breathes a contented sigh and snuggles against me. My body practically shivers with the ecstasy of being with her. She’s everything I need to live, and she’s not even real.

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Audiobook Sample

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Author Jen Brooks

Author Jen Brooks

About the Author
Jen has a habit of being deeply moved by profound ideas, and her writing reflects her interest in exploring human goodness, relationships, and the feeling of being a part of something greater than oneself.

She loves the science fiction and fantasy genres because of their dazzling possibilities for portraying characters and ideas. She credits her undergraduate experience at Dartmouth College, her MFA at Seton Hill University, and her fourteen years of English teaching with shaping her writing.

She is grateful to her family, friends, and students for inspiring her to write.

Where to Find Jen Brooks
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter

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Giveaway
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Release Day + Giveaway – Taking What’s His (Shillings Agency) by Diane Alberts

Taking What's His Release Day

Today is release day for Taking What’s His, the fourth book in the Shillings Agency series by New York Times bestselling author, Diane Alberts. See below for information on the book, buy links, a teaser, and details on her giveaway.

Taking What's His (Shilling Agency #4) by Diane Alberts

Taking What’s His (Shillings Agency #4) by Diane Alberts

About the Book
Title:
 Taking What’s His
Series: Shillings Agency #4
Author: Diane Alberts
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | AmazonBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

Some lines are meant to be crossed…

One explosive device was all it took to turn Holt Cunningham from ass-kicking Marine to IT technician. Hell, he’s still not over it. So when the cute little strawberry blonde at the bar asks him to kiss her, Holt can’t resist the temptation of a sexy distraction. Before he knows it, she’s blown his mind…and then skipped out the next morning.

Lydia Thomas never expected things with Holt to go quite that far, but oh, it was worth it. After being far too good for way too long, she was ready to be bad. Except that there’s that tiny detail that Lydia kept to herself-Holt just spent the night doing naughty things…with his best friend’s little sister.

One night isn’t nearly enough. But with his friendship on the line, how far will Holt go in order to claim what’s his?

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Author Diane Alberts

Author Diane Alberts

About the Author
Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. She’s hit the Top 100 lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble numerous times with numerous titles. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and a cat. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Where to Find Diane Alberts
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

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Giveaway
$25 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Release Day – Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens

Today is release day for Wash Me Away, a young adult contemporary novel from author Wendy Owens. See below for information on the book and buy links.

Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens

Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens

About the Book
Title: Wash Me Away
Author: Wendy Owens
Release Date: April 27, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Synopsis
Monsters have a way of following you.

Immersed in a new world at boarding school, Addy Buckley learns she’s not the only one with secrets.

While trying to navigate the minefield of painful lies that seem to be rattling around her family’s past, she meets soft on the eyes and heavy on the heart, Napoleon Blake.

When faced with the darkness, Addy must decide to cling to her new life and friends or let the monster carry her away.

The choice is hers, sink or swim.

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Author Wendy Owens

Author Wendy Owens

About the Author
Wendy Owens is a 34 year old author, born in the small college town, Oxford Ohio. After attending Miami University, Wendy went onto a career in the visual arts. For several years she created and sold her own artwork. In 2011 she gave her true love, writing, a try.

Her first novel flowed from her in only two weeks time, as though it had been fighting to get out. That moment was when she knew she had found her calling. Wendy now happily spends her days writing the stories her characters guide her to tell, admitting even she doesn’t always know where that might lead.

Her first series, The Guardians, will be concluded with the fifth and final book in 2013.

When she’s not writing, this dog lover can be found spending time with her tech geek husband, their three amazing kids, and two pups, lovingly nicknamed stinks and chubbs. She also loves to cook and is a film fanatic.

For more info on Wendy’s young adult fiction visit http://wendy-owens.com/

Where to Find Wendy Owens
Goodreads | Website Facebook Twitter
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3 Days – Countdown to Fall for Me (Ladder Company) by JC Emery

Fall for Me is coming in just four more days! Fall for Me is the first book in JC Emery’s new contemporary romance series, Ladder CompanyFall for Me releases on April 30, 2015.

3 Days - Fall for Me (Ladder Company #1) by JC Emery

3 Days – Fall for Me (Ladder Company #1) by JC Emery

About the Box Set:
Title:
Fall for Me
Series: The Ladder Company #1
Author: JC Emery
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
Melanie Kincaid is a trust-fund baby with a knack for sassy comebacks and unnecessarily complicating her privileged life. So, of course she would have to fall in love with a man she can’t have.

Jameson Hayes is a NYC firefighter for Manhattan’s oldest ladder company with big shoes to fill and a city to protect. He’s strong, sexy, and not looking for the complications Melanie brings. But he can’t stay away from her either.

The attraction between them is immediate and the pull between them is crazy powerful. But she’s only home for the summer and long-distance relationships never work.

Unfortunately, Melanie’s beauty and smart mouth are a lethal combination and Jameson isn’t the only Hayes who’s interested. As if his brother isn’t enough to compete with, now the city’s most famous arsonist wants to claim her as his next prize. Jameson can’t stand to watch Melanie get hurt and she can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble.

Fall for Me is the first Ladder Company novel, a stand-alone companion series about New York’s most elite firefighting family with hot alpha heroes, snarky heroines, and an arsonist hell-bent on destruction.

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Author JC Emery

Author JC Emery

About the Author
As a child, JC was fascinated by things that went bump in the night. As they say, some things never change. Now, as an adult, she divides her time between the sexy law men, mythical creatures, and kick-ass heroines that live inside her head and pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English.

JC is a San Francisco Bay Area native, but has also called both Texas and Louisiana home. These days she rocks her flip flops year round in Northern California and can’t imagine a climate more beautiful.

JC writes adult, new adult, and young adult fiction. She dabbles in many different genres including science fiction, horror, chick lit, and murder mysteries, yet she is most enthralled by supernatural stories– and everything has at least a splash of romance.

Where to Find J.C. Emery
Website | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads
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Release Blitz – Who I Am With You (Unexpected Heroes) by Melody Anne

Today is release day for Who I Am With You, the next book in the Unexpected Heroes Series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Melody Anne. See below for information on the book and buy links.

Who I Am With You (Unexpected Heroes #2) by Melody Anne

Who I Am With You (Unexpected Heroes #2) by Melody Anne

About the Book
Title: Who I Am With You
Series: Unexpected Heroes #1.5
Author: Melody Anne
Release Date: April 27, 2015
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
A spinoff of Melody Anne’s New York Times bestselling Billionaire Bachelors series, this entrancing e-novella features motocross racer Taylor Winchester and little sister to Hawk, the hero of Safe in His Arms from the romance anthology Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

As a motocross rider, Taylor Winchester has made a career out of throwing herself headfirst into danger, as fiercely as any of the guys racing against her. But after a brutal crash, she takes a little forced R&R while her injuries heal.

Her mom wishes she’d settle down, find love, maybe have a baby or two…but all Taylor wants is to get back on her bike.

She heads to her brother Hawk’s cabin to get a little peace and quiet—but is shocked to discover she’s not the only inhabitant. Ex-military man Travis, her high school crush, has also borrowed the cabin, and the two of them are each too stubborn to let the other one win. Nothing left to do but share the cabin…which quickly leads to sharing a bed!

As Taylor and Travis discover that the heat between them is far more than a fling, they both struggle with letting go of control. But if they learn to give a little, what they could win is worth more than any prize…

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Author Melody Anne

Author Melody Anne

About the Author
Melody Anne is the author of the popular series, Billionaire Bachelors, and Baby for the Billionaire. She also has a Young Adult Series out; Midnight Fire and Midnight Moon – Rise of the Dark Angel. She’s been writing for years and published in 2011. She hold a bachelors degree in business, so she loves to write about strong, powerful, businessmen.

When Melody isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and pets. She lives in a small town that she loves, and is involved in many community projects.

See Melody’s Website at: www.melodyanne.com. She makes it a point to respond to all her fans. You can also join her on facebook at: www.facebook.com/authormelodyanne, or at twitter: @authmelodyanne.

Where to Find Melody Anne
Goodreads | Website Facebook Twitter

Kickoff Party – Elude (Eagle Elite Series) by Rachel Van Dyken

Kickoff Party for Elude

Dying to know more about the mafia? Come find out what’s in store for Sergio and Andi! We will have the Cover, Blurb, Prologue, Chapter 1 and PRIZES!!! All the fun happens this Friday, May 1, on Facebook.

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Eagle Elite

Check out the Eagle Elite Series:

Elite:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Enforce:
AmazonBarnes & Noble | iBooks

Elect:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Entice:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Elicit:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Bang Bang:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Ember:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

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Author Rachel Van Dyken

Author Rachel Van Dyken

About the Author
 Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances.

When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

You can email her at rachelvandykenauthor@gmail.com

Where to find Rachel Van Dyken
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Amazon

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Book Review + Giveaway – The Phoenix Campaign (Grace Colton Series) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

The Phoenix Campaign (Grace Colton #2) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

The Phoenix Campaign (Grace Colton #2) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

4 Stars

Synopsis
Ambition. Lust. Sacrifice. Politics just got a whole lot sexier.

Grace Colton’s life is a blur—security, appearances, and a desperately fast ramp-up to Election Day. Political consultant Jared Rankin is pulling the strings to win the White House with the Conover-Colton ticket.

But the fragile relationship Grace and Jared forged could be ruined by secrets traded for political leverage. She’s hiding her new relationship with Jared from the public, and concealing a deeper secret from everyone.

When Grace reveals the explosive truth to her running mate, squeaky-clean Senator Conover must confront his own haunted past. Grace’s future—and their campaign—could be ruined by the lies meant to protect what they love most.

Peek behind the curtain and under the covers in this sexy political drama that exposes the true cost of ambition, lust and sacrifice.

The Phoenix Campaign is an erotic romance set in the world of presidential election politics. Recommended for mature readers due to sharp dialogue, wickedly hot sex, and a few delicious taboos. This full-length novel is second in a series but can be read as a standalone.

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My Review
The Phoenix Campaign is a solid follow-up to The Phoenix Candidate. With the Conover-Colton campaign well underway, Grace’s secret could not only destroy her relationship with Jared, but could undermine the campaign itself. Keeping secrets drives a wedge between Grace and Jared, and Jared brings in Sasha, a ball-busting campaign manager, to take over with Grace so he can focus on Shep. Things go from bad to worse when tragedy strikes her office. And when Shep’s own secret is revealed, things go from truly awful to nearly insurmountable.

The romance threads through this story, the same as the first book in the series, but now that Jared has declared his love for Grace, their conflicts arise from secrets, half-truths, and lies. Once again, the strength of the book lies in the politics rather than the romance. Not that the romance isn’t well done, its just that romance is pretty formulaic, but the political aspects of this story are incredibly well done, it’s like an episode of The West Wing, Scandal, and The Good Wife all rolled up into one.

World Building
Once again, the political world building is incredible. The scandals, the intrigue, the backstabbing, they’re all so juicy and believable. Campaign events, debate prep, everything you think you know about presidential campaigns is here, with lots of steamy sex, because it’s D.C. after all.

Plot
The main plot is still the romance between Grace and Jared, but it’s almost a neck-and-neck race to see if the political plot will overtake the lead. There’s so much undermining both plot points, with some of the same things affecting both, the author just keeps piling it on. But the campaign is by far the strongest, most unique aspect of the story. That said, it probably wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the romance, so I’d say these two plots are as co-dependent as a vampire and the human he loves.

Delicious subplots involve Grace’s chief-of-staff, Trey, as well as Shep’s big secret, which I never saw coming, although I did figure out the second half of the secret once the first part was revealed.

Characters
The characters are still complex and believable. There wasn’t quite as much character development this time around, but Grace still has a good arc, and Jared has his own arc that’s super-compressed.

Ending
I liked the ending. It wasn’t the jaw-dropping conclusion we got in the first book, but it wraps up the main story lines, leaving open just enough for the third and final book in the series.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About The Phoenix Campaign
1. The Politics. I’m still a political junkie, so the political bits were savored like the last bite of a key lime cheesecake.

2. Mama Bea. What’s not to love about Trey’s mom? She’s a spitfire with a heart of gold.

3. Jared. He loves deeply, even though he doesn’t always know how to express it. But the way he quietly pulls strings behind the scenes to orchestrate what he wants for Grace is really sweet, even if a little (okay maybe a lot) controlling.

4. Shep Conover. If he was running for president, he’d get my vote right now!

5. Sasha. She grew on me slowly, the same as she did Grace, but by the end, I adored her. She is exactly what Grace needs. Once this series is over, I’d love to see her in another series, or heck, even on The Good Wife. She could give Eli Gold a run for his money!

Bottom Line
The Phoenix Campaign is equal parts romance and political intrigue and 100% pure fun.

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

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About the Book
Title: The Phoenix Campaign
Series: Grace Colton #2
Author: Heidi Joy Tretheway
Publisher: Jasper Ridge Press
Release Date: April 20, 2015
Pages: 228
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Heidi Jo Tretheway

Author Heidi Jo Tretheway

About the Author
Heidi Joy is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, chefs, and detectives, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her eighth book from her home in Portland, Oregon. She adores hearing from readers at author.heidi@gmail.com.

Where to Find Heidi Joy Tretheway
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Giveaway
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