Blog Tour: Strings by David Estes

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Strings by David Estes!

Strings CoverTitle: Strings
Author: David Estes
Series: standalone
Genres: Science Fiction/ Fairytale Retelling
Links:

Blurb:
“A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story…
I simply couldn’t put this book down.”
Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND

Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free.

Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world.

Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco.

As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer.

If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:
David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he’s not writing, you’ll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: The Consequence of Seduction (Consequence #3) by Rachel Van Dyken

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Consequence of Seduction (Consequence #3) by Rachel Van Dyken. I share my review with you and an excerpt from the book.

seductioncoverTitle: The Consequence of Seduction
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Consequence #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

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Blurb:
From New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken.

Reid Emory has never had reason to question his luck with the ladies. As the owner of a lethal set of aqua-blue eyes and a devastating grin, this Hollywood heartthrob always brings his A game…but lately his luck seems to have run out. The actor is in need of some help, and there’s only one person he can trust to take his love life—and his career—to an explosive new level.

Jordan Litwright’s newest client is trying her patience. As a publicist, she’s more than content to stay in the background and let others shine. But when a publicity stunt backfires, she suddenly finds herself thrust into the spotlight—as Reid’s new love interest. And while other men usually overlook her, Reid is focusing in with laserlike intensity. There’s no denying they have serious chemistry.

But once Reid breaks into the big time, can they turn their made-for-the-media romance into a forever love?

The lady who fell in love

My Review:
Usually, I like to put a nice, promo-type comment at the start of my reviews. You know, something professional and slick that adequately summarizes the main outstanding qualities of the book I’ve just read. I’ve been typing and retyping furiously for the last few minutes trying to do this book justice and honestly I keep coming back to this:

Pee-your-pants funny.

Seriously, that sums up this book perfectly for me. I have laughed myself silly at other books before, but I can’t ever recall a book that had me laughing continuously the whole way through. This book is unique in it’s crazy insanity. A few times I had to re-read a section to make sure my brain had actually deciphered it correctly. What’s particularly genius about this though is that each character was funny in their own different way. All the characters were superbly crafted with individual personalities and quirks.

Reid was a great leading man, and Jordan was a spunky, professional career woman who was quite vulnerable underneath that tough exterior. Together, they were a match made in heaven. I loved the slow progression of the romance and their sizzling chemistry.

I could devote an entire review on it’s own to Max. Hella, how do I describe him? He was psychotically endearing is the best way I can put it. If I knew him in real life I would not be able to stand more than thirty seconds in his company before I’d start feeling uncharacteristic violent urges. Seriously, how none of the characters gave him a few slaps is beyond me. They all have limitless amounts of patience. But he was charming and funny with it. One of these hyper-intelligent, interfering busybodies with a heart of gold. He was definitely swinging off the crazy tree but it was hysterically funny to read. The toing and froing between him and Reid was especially funny.

And Reid and his ‘grandma’ experience. I’ll say it again: pee-your-pants funny.

I’ve read a couple of Rachel’s other books, and I knew she was an accomplished writer, but she really nailed it with this quirky, different Hollywood romance that will have you laughing your rocks off. Seriously entertaining read. Highly recommended.

Actual Rating 4.5 Stars.

Thanks to the publisher and Inkslinger PR for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Picture of a handsome man behind

Excerpt:
Jordan’s body responded to my every single touch and caress.
“Now I know why you’ve never had to ask a girl on a date.” She hooked her legs around me and wrapped her arms around my neck, her tongue intertwining with mine, sucking, so. Damn. Hard that I couldn’t help but keep moaning. The things that woman could do with her mouth.
I deepened the kiss, my hands reaching for the clasp of her bra. I flicked it off. Jordan immediately froze. Her hands quickly covered her breasts.
“What are you doing?” I tried prying her hands free.
“Too fast.” She nodded, her cheeks staining with color. “You know for our, uh, date night.”
“Move your hands.”
“No.”
“Jordan.”
“Reid.” She laughed nervously.
“Fine.” I nodded. “I didn’t want to have to do this.”
Jordan frowned.
I raised my hand.
She frowned harder.
I flipped her onto her stomach and slapped her ass. Hard.
“WHAT are you doing?” she yelled.
“Why, sweetheart . . .” I kissed her ear. “I’m taming.”
“The hell you are!”
“You like it.” Another swat. “And I’m barely spanking you, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Cover them up again and I won’t be responsible for my actions.”
“But—”
I flipped her back around. “But what?” I honestly wanted to know why a girl that gorgeous would cover up.
“It’s just that—” Jordan chewed her lower lip. “I’m the lights-off girl.”
“Lights off?”
“Yeah.” She shrugged a shoulder as more color stained her cheeks. “You know, the girl you don’t really notice right away until you’ve had one too many, then you take her home and have your way with her—in the dark.”
Horrified, I could only stare in shock. “Please tell me that hasn’t actually happened.”
“Reid.” She shoved me away and started to get to her feet. “Look, I’m not stupid, okay? And I’m not even that insecure anymore. I know how guys think, all right?”
“Oh, yeah?” I stood, pulled her flush against my very hard body. “What am I thinking about right now?”
“ESPN?”
“Damn.”
Her shoulders deflated. “See?”
I burst out laughing. “Honey, we have a pretty big problem if ESPN gets me this excited, don’t you think?”
“Hey, sometimes baseball just does it for people.” She gave me a sexy-as-hell smile. “It’s not your fault you like balls.”
“I can’t believe you just challenged my manhood when it’s saluting you like that. Damn, woman, I’m basically giving you the equivalent of a high five and a home run all in one and you’re making jokes?”

Romantic style photo of missing couple

RachelAuthorheadshotAbout 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, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com .

Links:

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Blog Tour: The Prophecy of Shadows (Elementals #1) by Michelle Madow

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Prophecy of Shadows (Elementals #1) by Michelle Madow. I’ll share my review of the book and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

MichelleMadow_Elementals_800pxTitle: The Prophecy of Shadows
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: Elementals #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

My Review:
The Prophecy of Shadows is an enchanting blend of magic and mythology that will captivate you from start to finish.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a fast-paced adventure laden story that I flew through in no time. Nicole has been uprooted thanks to her stepdad’s new promotion and we meet her as she is starting her first day in a new school. Very quickly she discovers that she’s a witch, and a descendant of Greek Gods. When a rare comet appears, her and five of her homeroom classmates become ‘The Elementals’ each with control over one of the elements. Then they set out on a journey to discover the prophecy and locate the Book of Shadows.

I adore anything to do with Greek mythology so this book was right up my alley. While this isn’t a completely original story, there were enough new ideas to ensure it was still a compelling read.

Nicole is a very likeable MC and I liked the chemistry between her and Blake. Blake is unavailable when they meet, but he feels a strong draw to Nicole, as she does to him. I thought his actions were deplorable in parts. Even though I hate Danielle, because she is a prize bitch, she still didn’t deserve to be cheated on. Blake was also quite dismissive of Nicole in public because he had to throw Danielle off the scent. He should just have manned up and dumped Danielle. That said, even though I’m contradicting myself, I thought the sneaky kissing in the dark was epic. If you follow my reviews you will know that I love my romance, and I wish we had a little more in this book. I hope the romance aspect develops as the series progresses.

I don’t really get the witch and God connection and I’m wondering if it was necessary at all. Surely they could just have had powers because of their Greek ancestry? At times I felt the plot was a little immature and underdeveloped and it would have benefitted from fleshing out some scenes. However, these are minor complaints, because overall I really enjoyed reading it.

I have a mad case of cover envy because this book cover is STUNNING. It’s really beautiful and the model chosen perfectly fits the description of Nicole.

I’m delighted to see that the second book is available soon as I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

To get instant updates about Michelle’s new books, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Amazon!

Links:

<strong.Giveaway!
Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows Virtual Tour event. One (1) lucky winner will receive a Kindle Fire 7”! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
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Review: Rising (Blue Phoenix #4) by Lisa Swallow

RisingTitle: Rising
Author: Lisa Swallow
Series: Blue Phoenix #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“Our demons don’t want to play but they sure as hell recognise each other”

Three attempts at staying clean after rehab and Jem Jones, Blue Phoenix guitarist, is determined this time he’ll succeed. Haunted by his recent past, Jem throws himself into the one addiction he still has left: his music. With Blue Phoenix on a break, he looks elsewhere for a place to channel his creativity and discovers up-and-coming band Ruby Riot.

For lead singer, Ruby, breaking into the music scene could break the cycle of abuse that’s controlled her life since she was a child. Finding release through music, the growing success of the band has set Ruby on the path to regaining her identity and self-esteem.

Ruby Riot brings Jem and Ruby together but they recognise they have more in common than their passion for music. Can this understanding of each other break down the carefully constructed barriers they’re trapped behind? Or is loving somebody too big a risk to take?

When Jem’s past slams into his present, he has to face the reality behind what made him the man he is and why he hurts the people he wants to love.

And as Ruby reaches out to help Jem, she discovers trying to fix somebody comes with the risk of getting cut by one of their shattered pieces.

Rising is the fourth book in the Blue Phoenix series. It can be read as a standalone but contains minor spoilers for the other books in the series.

Trigger warning: scenes of domestic violence.

My Review:
Having read books 1, 1.5, and 2 in this series, I was really looking forward to reading Jem’s story as he has intrigued me from the first time we met him. Talk about a troubled soul – not to be cliche, but he wrote the book!!

Jem has had the worst most fucked-up childhood ever. Fact. As a young adult, he enjoyed massive success with his band Blue Phoenix, and he indulged in all that the hedonistic lifestyle had to offer. Cue plenty of breakdowns, arguments, and meltdowns. He has just returned from his latest rehab stint during a period of band downtime. In order to avoid his demons, and keep distracted, he offers to help his Manager Steve out, in identifying a new support group for the next BP tour.

Enter Ruby Tuesday. Ruby’s childhood puts Jem’s in the shade. She has had one difficult event after another and now she is trapped in an abusive relationship that is threatening to destroy the one good thing in her life – her music.

Ruby and Jem crash into each others lives explosively. There is plenty of drama and angst as they enter into a game of pull and push. Both are so damaged by past events that it’s hard to open up to anyone else, even if that other person is more emphatic than your average individual. Gradually, though, they find a way to support and love each other and it was so heartwarming to read (especially the last few chapters.)

For me, the underlying message is not to underestimate the redemptive power of love.

This is far and away the best-written book in this series and there isn’t a single thing I could fault. The pacing is spot-on, the writing is superb, characterisation is insightful and raw, powerful, and it’s difficult not to feel a huge emotional upheaval reading it.

I’d give ten stars if I could. This can be read as a standalone though I’d highly recommend reading it as part of this great series.

Review: Fractured Suns (Broken Skies #2) by Theresa Kay

Fractured SunsTitle: Fractured Suns
Author: Theresa Kay
Series: Broken Skies #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Science Fiction Romance
Links:

Blurb:
We came in peace. Lie.
We had no role in the Collapse. Lie.
I have always been honest. Lie.
I never lied to her. Truth.

Reunited with her brother, and surrounded by Flint, Peter and her new-found grandfather, Jax Mitchell has still never felt more alone. The choice to follow Rym back to the city to find answers and see Lir is an easy one, but their reunion is cut short and Jax is forced to leave Lir behind. She finds herself traveling with some unexpected companions and heading back toward a place she’d hoped to never see again.

After being imprisoned—and tortured—on the orders of his uncle, Lir hasn’t seen daylight or linked to anyone in weeks. After a lifetime of connection, the pain and loneliness is almost too much to bear. Elated that Jax actually came, Lir finds renewed hope and the strength to continue fighting his uncle’s influence over the E’rikon, even when things look hopeless and Lir’s been branded a traitor by the very people he’s trying to save.

While Jax and Lir fight separate battles, their missions have more in common than they realize. It’s a race against time to stop men driven only by greed and power. But the ones they trust the most might be the very people working against them—and “family” doesn’t mean what it used to. Will they recognize their friends from their enemies in time to save the people they love or will they lose each other in the process?

My Review:
This was a fantastic follow-up to Broken Skies, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Jax and Lir have been separated and their connection is broken at the start of this novel. Jax is confused over her feelings for him and feels totally betrayed. But she can’t get him out of her head. When Rym appears, requesting to take her to him, she goes without question. When she uncovers the truth, she feels bad for ever doubting him. Everything he has done has been done to protect her.

Being in Jax’ head is difficult at times. She is dealing with a lot and her gifts are manifesting in non-transparent ways, so she’s hugely confused, and struggling. At times, I felt it was a little overdone and could have been toned down.

Not a huge amount happens in the first third of the book and I did find myself skimming parts, however, it picked up pace then and it was choc-a-block full of action, revelations, twists and turns from that point on.

Trust issues play a huge part again in this plot. I felt for Jax. It was challenging trying to identify who was genuine and who was a snake in the grass. I love books that weave intrigue and suspicion so expertly into the plot and Theresa delivered in spades here.

I was always naturally wary of Jastren so that plot twist didn’t hugely surprise me. But that shocker at the end. Holy Moly. That blew me away. I came close to crying as I loved his character (being vague on purpose)

Jax and Lir are separated for much of this book so the romance is a little light. Not a happy bunny. I hope we get more in the next one and I’m so looking forward to seeing where Theresa takes the hybrid-alien-human plot in Book 3.

All in all, another great read from Ms. Kay and I look forward to continuing this series.

Cover Reveal: Avalee and the Dragon by Patricia Hamill

Today is the cover reveal for Avalee and the Dragon by Patricia Hamill. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The cover art is designed by Jack Baker Design. Jack Baker is a fantasy illustrator based in the UK. He has a passion for creating artwork for fantasy books and book covers. Find out more or check out some of Jack’s other artwork at his website Jack Baker Design.

Avalee and the DragonAvalee and the Dragon
By Patricia Hamill
Genre: Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: February 14, 2016

Blurb:
Every ten years, a maiden must be sacrificed to the dragon to ensure the safety of the village for the next ten. This year, Avalee has been selected.

But unlike those before her, she has no intention of submitting to her fate. No, she intends to fight, and not just fight, win. If everything goes as planned, the dragon will never trouble her village again.

Then again, things seldom go as planned. . .

You can find Avalee and the Dragon on Goodreads

Other books by the author:
The Golden Ship
Fearless
The Freeze
Shadows of Valor (Shadows of Valor #1)
Forgotten Valor (Shadows of Valor #2)
Fight for Valor (Shadows of Valor #3)
The Complete Shadows of Valor Trilogy

Patricia HamillAbout the Author:
Patricia lives in the United States of America with her family. Her favorite pastime is reading, especially epic fantasy. She enjoys bringing elements of fantasy, humor, and modern life together in her stories, though she writes in a range of genres.

In addition to her love of literature, she also enjoys knitting and crocheting, practicing Isshinryu Karate, visiting scenic parks, and canoeing. Her insight into military life comes from a six-year enlistment in the United States Navy.

You can find and contact Patricia Hamill here:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Goodreads
Amazon

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Avalee and the Dragon. These are the prizes you can win:
– Either a paperback copy of one of Patricia Hamill her books, winner’s choice (US Only) or a 10$ amazon gift card (INT)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: Shuffle (Ruby Riot) by Lisa Swallow

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Today I am sharing my review for Shuffle by Lisa Swallow. I read the first book Cadence awhile back and really enjoyed that one too, you can read my review of Cadence here.

Shuffle.EbookTitle: Shuffle
Author: Lisa Swallow
Series: Ruby Riot #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Will Campbell, Ruby Riot bassist, is back at university and failing badly at everything apart from partying.

With Ruby Riot on a break, Will returns to university to finish his degree. He needs major help if he wants to pass his final year and attempts to join a not-very-rock star study group. Will is horrified to discover the person organising the group is Fleur Roberts, the girl he’s secretly crushed on for two years and who recently threatened him with a restraining order.

Fleur’s rock stars are history academics. She has no interest in any variety of pierced, tattooed slacker, especially not the jackass rock star who humiliated her at a party. There’s no way in Hell that Will Campbell is joining her group.

Faced with losing the easiest way to fix his academic problems, Will has the perfect solution: pretend he’s his twin, Nate. Will and Nate have swapped identities before so nothing can go wrong. Surely.

Fleur is successful academically, but her love life is a failure. Following a number of disastrous dates, she finds herself falling in love with a guy who is lying to her. But Will’s deceit isn’t the only thing about to shatter her world. When another man Fleur trusted betrays her, and she attempts to retaliate, Fleur discovers how dangerous he is. And when Will becomes involved, the repercussions threaten both of their futures.

Shuffle is the second standalone book in the Ruby Riot series and can be read separately to the first book.

Shuffle available now

My Review:
Another stomping good read from Lisa Swallow. I’m a big fan of her Blue Phoenix series so I was delighted when I heard about this spin-off series featuring new up and coming band, Ruby Riot. Book 1, Cadence, was about Jax and Tegan and I mistakenly thought this book was about Nate and Riley. But it’s actually about Nate’s twin, Will, and his crush, Fleur.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. It has all of the things I’ve come to expect from Lisa – great writing, consistent pacing, good world building and a plot that always keeps me engaged. There’s usually a great dollop of smexy times too, though Shuffle was a little on the lighter side compared to some of her other work.

Will has been harboring a crush on Fleur for a couple of years but she has barely noticed him. She’s no time for wanna-be rockstars, and she has her heart set on a life of academia and a man that blends seamlessly into that world. Will makes a total mess of it the first time they actually speak, so much that Fleur threatens him with a barring order if he comes near her again. So he pretends to be his twin Nate, as you do. Obviously, you know that’s not going to end well!

Fleur was the star of the show, in my opinion. She’s quite a different MC and I found that refreshing. She is intelligent, articulate, well-educated and very focused on her studies and her desired future academic career. She wants a nice boy, the type you could take home to Daddy. But all the supposed ‘nice boys’ end up being anything but. I really felt for her even though she has lousy taste in men, and she just keeps on picking em!

Will is a bit of a strange character, but charming and sweet too. Eventually, he wears Fleur down and they start dating. Cue the inevitable dramas, breakup and then HEA makeup.

I really enjoy rock star romances, and Lisa paints (what I imagine is) a realistic picture. We didn’t get to see too much of it here, though, as the band are on a sabbatical, thanks to Ruby’s maternity leave.

I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half, as I felt some of the inner monologue became a bit repetitive, and I thought the part from the incident with Shaun to the end was a little rushed. I also disliked the way Fleur kicked Will to the curb after he saved her. I can understand her initial reaction, but she could have shown more understanding and gratitude. Will had so much to lose and I felt she could have been more sympathetic. That’s the only reason this is a 4-star instead of 5-star rating.

As an aside, I love these covers, and I loved Fleur’s name.

Overall, though, this was a fantastic read and I look forward to reading Nate’s story next.

Some of my fav quotes from the ARC copy I received:

“Have you ever kissed a guy with a piercing?” “No.” “Want to try?”

“Nothing’s changed – apart from everything.”

“Fleur is a million miles away, but I’d walk twice as far to reach her.”

“This girl is my opposite, but my everything.”

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. She is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2001. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, three children, and Weimaraner, Tilly, who often makes appearances on Lisa’s social media.

Lisa’s first publication was a moving poem about the rain, followed by a suspenseful story about shoes. Following these successes at nine years old there was a long gap in her writing career, until she published her first book in 2013.

In the past, Lisa worked as an English teacher in France, as an advertising copywriter in England, and ran her own business in Australia. Now she spends her days with imaginary rock stars. She lived in Europe as a child and also travelled when she left university. This has given Lisa stories which would sound far-fetched if she wrote them down, and maybe one day she will. These days, Lisa is happy in her writing cave, under Tilly’s supervision.

Links:

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Review: Coming in from the Cold (Gravity #1) by Sarina Bowen

Coming in from the ColdTitle: Coming in from the Cold
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Gravity #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sport Romance
Links:

Blurb:
He can’t have her. And he can’t tell anyone why.

Ski racer Dane “Danger” Hollister does not do relationships, though he keeps his reason a secret. The real-life curse he’s inherited from his mother will eventually cost him everything: his place on the Olympic ski team, his endorsement income, and his ability to fly downhill at top speed.

Reluctant country girl Willow Reade meets Dane by accident. Literally. Her skidding truck forces him off the road during a blizzard. Stranded together in his Jeep as night falls, the two loneliest people in Vermont find themselves sharing more than they’d planned. And not just conversation.

Yet neither can guess how their unlikely tryst will threaten Dane’s frightening secret and Willow’s tentative peace with her own choices. Only mutual trust and understanding can end their pain and give them a hard won shot at love.

My Review:
I picked up a copy of this book as part of a Bookbub promotion and it sounded like exactly what I was in the mood for. I planned on reading a few chapters last night but ending up staying up half the night reading it. It was just too good to put down. I adored it, totally loved it, and there is absolutely nothing I can fault about it.

It has to be said – Willow has lousy taste in men. First she ups sticks with her boyfriend to the middle of nowhere to set up a chicken farm and then he runs off with a younger model leaving her stuck with a load of debt and with no way out. Stranded in a snowstorm, she almost runs Dane off the road and a chance encounter turns into a life-changing event.

Dane has been hiding a big secret his whole life and he doesn’t let anyone get close to him. He can’t afford for that to happen. Then Willow comes into his life and she is like the embodiment of all he longs for but can never have. Though it kills him to walk away from her, he feels like he has no choice.

Circumstances thrust them together again but because of his big secret (a devastating medical condition that runs in his family and has already claimed the lives of his mother and brother at an early age) he continually pushes Willow away in a very hurtful manner.

This book deals with some heavy subject matter in a very realistic, sympathetic way. There was no sugar coating. Dane’s emotions dripped off the page and it was hard not to feel for him, even though he was a total jerkface to Willow for half the book. I really feel like Sarina got deep under the skin of her characters and I was so invested in both of the mains.

Willow is the nicest human being on the planet! Though she isn’t a pushover. She is compassionate with a big heart and lots of love to give. She is patient and kind with Dane even though he doesn’t deserve it half the time.

The romance was hot and steamy, just how I like it.

Callie is also a great BFF and she was well-developed for a side character. Book 2 is her story and I look forward to reading it soon.

The writing is fantastic and the book flowed fluidly the entire time. I was engrossed in every single page.

In summary, this was a fantastic read that dealt sympathetically and realistically with some heavy subject matter. The romance was steamy and angsty and thoroughly addictive. Highly Recommended.

Blog Tour: Dirty Tricks (The Burke Brothers #4) by Emma Hart

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Dirty Tricks (The Burke Brothers #4) by Emma Hart. I share my review of this book with you, an excerpt of the book, some teaser images and a tour wide giveaway.

DirtyTricksTitle: Dirty Tricks
Author: Emma Hart
Series: The Burke Brothers #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

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Blurb:
Chelsey Young’s dad was a rock star. Glamorous, right? But late nights, frequent travelling, and watching endless women rub their bodies against Lukas Young’s in a bid for his attention wasn’t exactly how Chelsey planned to spend her senior year of high school.

So when Kye Burke, of the ultra-sexy band Dirty B, sets his sights on Chelsey, she figures the best way to get him off her back is by taking his sexy butt to bed.

But after one night together, Kye has no intention of staying away from Chelsey, especially when she’s kissing him one minute then pushing him away the next. From watching her father, Chelsey knows the rock star lifestyle that Kye leads—being away for long stretches of time, girls throwing themselves at him on the regular, shirtless photos showing up in his inbox ten times a day. She wants no part of it.

Kye is determined for Chelsey to get to know him, the real him behind the rock star persona. But that isn’t so easy when Kye’s schedule will take him away for days, weeks, even a month or two at a time, which is a dealbreaker for Chelsey. Long distance means temptation to stray, and infidelity was the reason her own parents split. She knows it’s not fair to project her own insecurities onto Kye, but some things are unavoidable.

But Kye Burke isn’t Lukas Young.

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My Review:
This was my first Emma Hart read though I doubt it’ll be my last. While this is the fourth book in this series it can totally be read as a standalone and the author does a great job of backfilling essential bits of the previous stories. I’m intrigued enough by the other characters to want to check out the previous books.

I really warmed to Kye Burke from the outset. He was sexy, sweet, witty and so caring and protective of Chelsey despite the fact that she regularly blows hot and cold on him. I loved how he didn’t give up on her even when she was downright nasty to him. That’s not to say that he was a walkover – because he most definitely wasn’t. He challenged her and ultimately made her face up to things. Kye is easily the best thing about this book.

Chelsey was such a refreshing female lead. She was an out and out bitch, and I don’t just mean a snarky, sassy type. She was MEAN, but I actually loved it, and she gave me some great laugh-out-loud moments. And it’s not all a facade to hide her true persona though that was partly the case, but she does have an inherent mean streak.

I really enjoyed Emma’s writing style, and she writes superb, sharp, humorous dialogue. All characters were solidly developed, even the secondary characters, and the romance was steamy without being too hot. The book flowed at a nice pace and there weren’t any slow, repetitive, or overly descriptive parts. A nice even read. The plot is very predictable though but it wasn’t a major issue as I think that’s pretty much par for the course with these types of books.

In summary, this was a fab read and I’d highly recommend it to fans of NA/Contemp women’s fiction.

Thanks to Inkslinger PR and the publisher for providing a review copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

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Excerpt:
“What,” Chelsey exclaims, “the hell is that?”
With a wide smile spreading across my face, I shove my hands in my pockets like a teenage boy and look at her. “A Christmas tree.”
“Are those . . . penises?”
“Technically, dildos.”
“Like real ones?” She jerks her alarmed gaze to me.
“No. Just plastic.”
She flicks her tongue across her lips. “Uh-huh. Why do you have penises across your Christmas tree?”
“Because he’s an immature little bastard,” Leila answers for me.
“You didn’t stop me,” I shoot back.
“Hell no I didn’t. I cannot wait to see Mom’s face when she sees this!”
“When she sees what?” Mom’s voice creeps through the house ominously, and the close of the door after her sounds like the signal that I should run away.
“Uh . . . I’m just gonna go . . .to the store. . . .” I shuffle toward the door that connects the front room with the kitchen.
Chelsey lifts her eyebrows in amusement, and Dad grabs the back of my shirt so I can’t escape.
You wouldn’t think I was twenty-four. For numerous reasons, obviously.
“Kye Burke, why are there tiny penises on my Christmas tree?”
Her voice is calm. Really calm. I’m even more convinced that I should run. “Merry Cock-mas?”
Mom’s expression is somewhere between insane amusement and extreme frustration.
“I’m just gonna come back later . . .” Chelsey whispers, edging toward the living room door. “When there are less . . . cocks.”
“Good idea! I’ll come with you.” I wrestle out of Dad’s grip and dart behind him, through the kitchen, and into the hall.
Chelsey laughs and grabs my arm, dragging me back into the room. “I said I was going. I didn’t say you were escaping this cock-up.”
“Great choice of words,” Dad chuckles.
Mom pinches the bridge of her nose. “I should have known that when three boys left, one boy would have to make the impression of three,” she says, mostly to herself. “I should have known that the one who never left his little peep alone at two would one day decorate my tree in cocks.”
“Mom! What the hell?” I sputter.
“I should have known that his ball-hoarding obsession at six was a sign of things to come,” she sighs heavily and drops her hand. “After all, there’s one in every boyband. I thought I was ready for this.” Then, she turns to me. “Kye, son, we love you anyway, but I have to ask. Are you gay?”
Chelsey lets go of me, and laughter rips from her. Leila laughs, too, her book falling to the floor. Dad covers his face with his hands, and Mom just stands there in the middle of the room, her eyes wide. Her hands are now clasped in front of her sympathetically, and the tiny upturn of the right side of her mouth explains it all.
“Well played, Mother,” I say reluctantly, walking back toward the front door. “Well. Played.”

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DSC_9249About 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.

Links:

And there’s a tour wide giveaway! For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay

Broken SkiesTitle: Broken Skies
Author: Theresa Kay
Series: Broken Skies #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: science fiction romance/ post apocalyptic
Links:

Blurb:
Thirty years ago, civilization collapsed. Few survived.
Ten years ago, the aliens arrived…and stayed.
One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.
Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do anything to get him back.

In seventeen-year-old Jax Mitchell’s world, humans are nearly extinct and alien settlers have arrived.

Until recently, the E’rikon have remained segregated in their city and ignored the few humans who have tried to engage them… but now they have taken Jax’s brother. To rescue him, she forms an uneasy alliance with a teenage E’rikon left stranded in the woods. She agrees to guide him to the city if he sneaks her past the human-proof barrier. Too bad it’s not that simple.

Jax, who cannot stand to be touched, finds that she’s drawn to the alien boy with bright green hair and jewel-like scales on his back. And he’s equally affected by her, the courageous redhead with haunted eyes. But she doesn’t know the alien’s true motives and he has no idea that she is much more than she seems.

With the aliens and the humans at odds, the connection forming between the two teens has consequences. What started off as a rescue mission sets a chain of events in motion which threatens not only the remaining humans and the growing alien society, but Earth itself.

My Review:
This was an excellent, well-written start to an exciting sci-fi series. The book flowed smoothly from the first page and it hooked me from start to finish. While, in general, the pace is slower in the first half, that didn’t bother me at all as the author gave appropriate time to paint her characters and showcase their personalities. I really felt a connection with Jax and Lir, and that’s so important to me. Too often, authors skimp on characterization, choosing plot as a priority and in a lot of cases, that’s a mistake. So, that’s a long-winded way of saying I like how Theresa structured this book.

Jax struggles with trust issues and she’s dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event. Her brother is her rock, so when he is taken by the aliens, she is more than heart-broken, she is completely lost. Lir seems like the only option to help her rescue her twin so she sets out on foot for the alien city. Their journey is hazardous and long, but they gradually relax around one another, and find comfort and solace in each other. Ah, I loved it!

Lir is a hot alien (my favorite type) and not at all what Jax was expecting, or had been lead to believe of his race.

There are plenty of great revelations in the second half of the book and the ending is fantastic – action packed and heart-wrenching at the same time.

I enjoyed this authors writing style, and it’s an accomplished piece of writing.