Skating On Thin Ice (Book Blast)

 

Professional hockey in Seattle by a bestselling sports romance author? Plus a hot giveaway? Game on! This Book Blast is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

 

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Jami Davenport presents Game on in Seattle, a new series featuring Seattle sports teams, hot men, and strong women.

He trusts his gut, she trusts her numbers, and neither trusts the other, as a billionaire’s mission to bring hockey to Seattle clashes with his passion for the woman who holds his heart.

Ethan Parker, a billionaire determined to bring a professional hockey to Seattle, will stop at nothing to realize his dream. After signing an agreement to purchase another city’s team, Ethan is anxious to make the move to Seattle, but a gag order by the League forces him to keep the sale a secret until the season ends, leaving him no choice but to go undercover as a consultant to study his team during the playoffs.

Lauren Schneider, Assistant Director of Player Personnel for the Giants hockey team, gets no respect from the team’s testosterone-loaded staff. When Ethan bursts onto the scene, full of charm and genuinely interested in her opinions, she shares the team’s weaknesses and discovers a weakness of her own–for Ethan. But when his true identity is revealed, and he starts cleaning house based on her unwitting input, his betrayal cuts deeply on both a professional and personal level.

Bound by an employment contract, Lauren reluctantly moves to Seattle to work for the newly christened Seattle Sockeyes and her sexy, infuriating boss. Lauren and Ethan must come to terms with their passions–for the team, for hockey, and for each other.

Will their situation build a frozen wall between them, or will their love burn hot enough to melt the ice shielding their hearts?

 

 

 

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An advocate of happy endings, Jami Davenport writes sexy contemporary and sports romances, including her two new indie endeavors: the Game On in Seattle Series and the Madrona Island Series. Jami lives on a small farm near Puget Sound with her Green Beret-turned-plumber husband, a Newfoundland cross with a tennis ball fetish, a prince disguised as an orange tabby cat, and an opinionated Hanoverian mare. She works in computer support in her day job and juggles too many balls, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.


 
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Honest and raw: Shameless by Nina Lemay (NA romance)

Shameless

by Nina Lemay
Amazon

Goodreads

My Review

Hannah flees her suffocatingly boring Minnesota home town to study art in a prestigious English speaking university in Montreal. With a barbed wire firmly set around her small frame because of a mistake that branded her the wrong way back home, she shuns everyone out and when finances become an issue, she becomes a cliché. She starts stripping to pay for college. She becomes Alicia. Most patrons at the club are your average gross, bald, middle aged guys who, on the one hand want to grope her (not allowed) but on the other want to mend her. Soon, the sensitive skin she has on display becomes thick, and life goes on. But one guy—young and hot—seems to neither want to grope nor mend her. It hurts when it shouldn’t, and she tries to shrug it off, until she sees him again. As the teacher of her Classic Photography class. Where she wears Converse, large sweaters and not a speck of make up. And what’s worse? The hot guy—no, teacher—might not have wanted Alicia, but he sure wants Hannah. A lot. That’s when lots of stuff hit the fan.

This NA really blew me away! The depiction of life in strip clubs was raw and evocative, but it avoided all the clichés we’re fed up seeing in films. The writer paints a vivid but not necessarily ugly picture of the girls. Sure, some of them end in the gutter, but some do not. And Hannah is determined not to. Although the obstacles that are thrown her way are overwhelmingly difficult to surpass, she finds the inner strength she didn’t know she had to fight back. I won’t give you the outcome, but this is one book I wouldn’t mind not having a traditional HEA. It was so good to read a fully fleshed-out character who stands her ground unwaveringly even if it means she’ll lose it all.

The male character, Emmanuel, is sweet and the perfect material to become a book boyfriend, but he was a weak link in the story. I’m not entirely sure I was rooting for him in the end. But I loved the way he treated Hannah (or ‘Annah as he is French) and the trips they took around Montreal and Quebec City were truly beautiful. I also loved the setting. Original, rich and … very Canadian 🙂

The writing is fantastic! One of the best NA I’ve read this year. Gritty and raw but with deep empathy and an ability to delve deep into the main characters’ psyche.

If you enjoy New Adult romances that are not buttery sweet, and feel you want to take a ride on the wild side, Shameless is what you should try.

I was offered a copy of this book by Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Link: Amazon

About the Author

Nina Lemay is a YA writer by day and author of sinfully twisted New Adult…well, also by day. She loves all things dark and edgy and never tires of tormenting her characters. While Nina is a fan of all things scary, Gothic, and fantastic, she doesn’t shy away from a gritty contemporary romance when the muse strikes. She lives in Montreal, a city that never fails to inspire, with her partner and her dog.

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A heart-warming tale of healing wounds: Leaving Liberty by Virginia Carmichael

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Book & Author details:
Leaving Liberty by Virginia Carmichael
Publication date: July 1st 2013
Genres: Adult, Romance
Purchase link: Amazon

My review

Don’t you just love libraries? You might own a Kindle like me to fix your need for read, but don’t you get that fuzzy, warm feeling blooming in you when you immerse yourself in the dim glow of a true library? The quiet rustling of paper, the smell of leather and old paper? And won’t you get a sense of loss if your favorite library had to close down? Now, imagine this to have been your shelter from an abusive parent, the only place where you’d find peace and a sense of purpose. Wouldn’t you want to defend its existence with everything you’ve got?

That’s the story of Daisy. She returns to her small town and her childhood nightmares to attend the funeral of the elderly librarian: the only person who saw her potential. It’s supposed to be a one-day trip, but the mayor’s plan to demolish the almost condemned library due to lack of restoration funds, makes her reconsider fleeing. The frustratingly calm and handsome Lane, the police officer with the hero complex, messes with her resolution even more, but nothing good can come of their attraction. His heart has already been broken by an out-of-town girl, and she just can’t imagine reliving the terror of being branded as the town drunk’s daughter. He needs her to stay forever, she needs to go for good. Will their pull heal their wounds?

The story has all the nostalgic, heart-warming elements you’d expect to find in a small-town community; beautiful locations, genuine, fleshed-out characters, but its strongest aspect is the writing. Ms Carmichael can really add bold strokes of poignant emotion to a rather sweet, pastel-colored story of pure love, pure characters and reliance on faith. This is a faith-based clean romance, but the writing compensates with spurts of interesting banter and subtle but effective humor. Although too clean for my own taste—slow-building with frequent references to the small-town self-righteousness you either love or hate—it was a story that I enjoyed reading mainly because the writing was solid and surprisingly evocative.

If you enjoy reading sweet romances with a strong religious streak, you won’t want to leave Leaving Liberty.

Make sure you enter the awesome giveaway to grab the goodies listed below (the links will take you to the products in their respective Etsy stores)

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Official Synopsis:

At eighteen, Daisy McConnell left Liberty, Colorado and never looked back. The only bright spot in a childhood of neglect and loneliness was the town librarian, Marie. Now settled as a teacher in sunny Fresno, Daisy does her best to forget everything about Liberty including her drunk father, her MIA mother, and the town she hated with every beat of her heart.
 
Lane Bennett’s life as a small town cop is pretty close to perfect. He’s got his dog, a pretty date when he needs one, and plenty of time to fish on the weekends. No other place can compare to his hometown and he’s happy to devote his life to keeping the folks of Liberty safe. When Marie passes away, Lane knows one of the best parts about living in Liberty is gone, along with the old Carnegie library. It needs repairs the city can’t afford and the city managers won’t pay the new flood insurance. It’s too bad, but safety comes first.

When Daisy comes home for Marie’s funeral and hears the only safe place she knew as a child is going to close, she refuses to let it happen. She hatches a plan to save the old library, run the summer reading program, and keep Marie’s legacy alive.

She once vowed never to come home and he’s vowed never to leave. Daisy and Lane discover together that true love happens when you least expect it and you should never say never in Liberty.
 

AUTHOR BIO

Virginia was born near the Rocky Mountains and although she has traveled around the world, the wilds of Colorado run in her veins. A big fan of the wide open sky and all four seasons, she believes in embracing the small moments of everyday life. A home schooling mom of six young children who rarely wear shoes, those moments usually involve a lot of noise, a lot of mess, or a whole bunch of warm cookies. Virginia holds degrees in Linguistics and Religious Studies from the University of Oregon. She lives with her habanero-eating husband, Crusberto, who is her polar opposite in all things except faith. They’ve learned to speak in short-hand code and look forward to the day they can actually finish a sentence. In the meantime, Virginia thanks God for the laughter and abundance of hugs that fill her day as she plots her next book.
 

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Burning Memories by Rory Keeling (Book Blast)

She’s an FBI arson investigator, he’s the fire chief. Together they set the small town of Pecan Creek ablaze. Okay, an arsonist lends a helping hand too… Brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

Burning Memories
Banks of Pecan Creek # 1
By: Rory Keeling
Releasing September 10th, 2014
Three Owl Press

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Ten years ago, he saved her life … and she’s never forgiven him for it.

Claire Masters never planned to return to Pecan Creek. After a suspicious fire killed her mother and sent her own life up in flames, she was ready for a fresh start – far away from the small Texas town.

Ethan Banks never asked to be the fire chief, but it’s the family business. Asking the FBI…and Claire Masters for help is the last thing he wants to do.

When a series of fires strikes the town, as one of the FBI’s top arson investigators, Claire reluctantly returns before the fires take a fatal turn.

Now the pair is forced to work side by side, and they’re reminded the heat between them has nothing to do with fire.

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Not quite as Southern as sweet tea…but pretty close. I’m the mom to two teenagers and two furry kids. My blood is probably 50% coffee. When I was in first grade, I convinced my teacher my mother made my father sleep in the barn. And the stories have just continued from there…

 
 
 
 

More grit than glamour: Adagio by Delancey Stewart

Book & Author details:
Adagio by Delancey Stewart
(The Company #1)
Publication date: May 6th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase Link: Amazon

 

My Review

Anna Glaser was not graced with an easy childhood, but grace she has. In spades. That is her only weapon to fight the misery of her life; becoming a prima ballerina is her sole focus. The rigor and discipline, the need for perfectionism soothes her troubled soul. So when the cold and calculating artistic director of the company she fought so hard to enter, suggests she should give him something more than her dancing, she hates him, but that being in line with how she knows life, she is willing to succumb.

Enter Cain Gilliam. The lead danseur is instantly smitten by the composed, withdrawn dark beauty. He sees that the director has designs for her outside the dance hall, and he is determined to intercept them. If only he was sure that that was what Anna truly wanted. And then it’s his own demons he has to keep at bay. But the stage’s wings hide danger in their darkness and soon Cain will have to protect more than Anna’s reputation.

I picked this book up from Xpresso Book Tours because of its dance theme. If you expect Center Stage though, you will not find it here. This story is dark. Not only because life-threatening danger lurks backstage but because both the protagonists have a dark side. Anna is not the sweet girl you will effortlessly fall in love with. She keeps barbed wire around her, making sure no one enters her personal space. She fights her feelings for Cain, and she rarely lets the reader peek into her soul. She gave me a hard time too. It was only toward the end that I started getting Anna, and maybe if I was given more of her backstory instead of snippets through dialogue, liking her would have come easier. Cain also lacked sufficient backstory to help me fully understand his sometimes too intense reactions.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Adagio. Delancey Stewart knows her stuff. The rehearsals and dancing were super realistic, you could even smell the waxed floor and feel the agony in your own muscles. The rest of the characters–Cain’s roommates and Anna’s only girlfriend–were fleshed out and endearing. The writing itself showed spurts of brilliancy; some metaphors blew me away.

Final verdict: a very readable book, expertly handling the theme, which I would have fully enjoyed had I been given deeper insight into the MCs’ psyche.

DancerinRestMotionGiveaway:
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Official Synopsis:

The world of professional ballet is built on illusion. The illusion of perfection. The illusion of effortless beauty. The illusion of eternal love.

But backstage, few members of the Union Ballet Company suffer from such illusions.

Anna Glaser has dreamed of nothing but dancing professionally her entire life. And when she’s finally offered a position with Union, she takes it, giving little more than a passing thought to what she might have to give up in exchange. But Sebastian Kaplan, the director who gave her the chance, won’t forget so easily.

When Anna meets Cain, who has been dubbed by the local media as Union’s most eligible bachelor, she realizes that making a deal with the devil might mean that Heaven — in the form of a gorgeous dark-haired man — is forever out of her reach.

Dancers at Union know that something that glitters and shines under the stage lights can still be vicious and evil when the lights go down.

Adagio is the first episode in the series The Company – an engaging drama-filled ride through the darker parts of the ballet and the lives of those who live to dance.

*This book contains explicit content and is suitable for readers over 17

DelanceyAUTHOR BIO

Delancey Stewart writes contemporary romance.

Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a direct sales representative for a French wine importer. But she has always been a writer first.

A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler and story reader. She tackles all these efforts at her current home outside Washington D.C.

Author links:

 

 

Witty and original: Red, White and Screwed by Holly Bush

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Glenda Nelson is frazzled and hassled. A political strategist who sees her strategy blown to smithereens, a mother of two teens who can drive her up the wall, a daughter of decaying parents and an ex-wife of a serial cheater with a “it’s not what you think” attitude, Glenda has too much on her plate to have extra room for love. And when dazzlingly handsome, Chris Goodrich, singles her out, she has to try really hard to remember what’s it like to act womanly and even harder to open her heart and let him in. Could she still be clinging on the dream of her white knight turned philandering douche seeing the light? And will Chris be patient enough to handle her and her crazy life?

I really enjoyed this story. After reading numerous New Adult romances with fumbling heroes trying to get a grip on life, the harsh reality of a mother past her prime who learns how to reclaim her right to love and personal happiness was refreshing. Holly Bush’s writing is awesome. It reads like chick-lit: vibrant, witty, no-nonsene just like the heroine’s personality. I couln’t help but cast Amy Pohler and Greg Kinnear in the leading roles. Even the political lingo that at some points dominated the scenes instead of bogging me down, added to the authenticity of Glenda’s reality. (I’m Greek, but I have watched Spin City.)

There was one thing that I found over the top though: Chris was just too good to be true. I expected each time Glenda broke down and cried (she cries a lot!) for the other shoe to drop, some drama to ensue, but Chris stoically took everything and offered support and love. I couldn’t really connect his easiness with the fact that he is an artist fighting with disillusionment over his career path. I expected more conflict there.

That said, I recommend Red, White and Screwed for its wittiness and originality. A fun read!

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Official Blurb

Political strategist Glenda Nelson is having a meltdown. Her handpicked, very married Congressional candidate was just caught climbing out of the window of the Sleepytown Motel, and her philandering ex-husband seems to have the most to gain from the colossal scandal that follows. As Glenda attempts to salvage the campaign in a hotly contested race, conservative and liberal pundits pounce on the story to further their own agendas.

Glenda’s love life is nonexistent to say the least, that is, until she meets handsome artist Chris Goodrich. Chris’s easy-going, carefree outlook on life couldn’t be more different than the 90-mph crazy train that is Glenda’s, but the more time she spends with him, the more she craves his calming presence, his sexy smile, and his steamy embraces. Is Chris worth taking a chance on?

Between the pressure of full-blown spin control mode, rapidly declining job security, refereeing two teenagers, caring for aging parents, and spending hours on her therapist’s couch trying to get past her ex’s crushing betrayal, Glenda finds love and makes the long trek back to happy.

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Holly BushAuthor Info

Holly Bush writes historical romance set on the American Prairie, in Victorian England and recently released her first Contemporary Romance. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush.

 

Author Links

http://www.hollybushbooks.com/

https://twitter.com/hollybushbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3378392.Holly_Bush

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holly-Bush/247399131941435?focus_composer=true&ref_type=bookmark

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(Review) Truly by Ruthie Knox

Truly-Ruthie-Knox

Truly

New York Series #1

By: Ruthie Knox

Releasing August 5th, 2014

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This promo and review tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours. Scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and read a highly readable excerpt of a “truly” empowering contemporary romance.

RITA finalist and New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox kicks off a steamy new series set in the city that never sleeps—alone, at least.

Cover

My Review

May is a Midwestern-girl, taught to behave, be nice and avoid all things that are not for “people like us”. Being quite tall (and feeling enormous) she considers herself more than lucky to be singled out by Dan, an easy-going, uncomplicated NFL quarterback, and she centers her life around him, even moving to New York, a frightening city hardly for “people like us”. But then he goes and does something unexpected, saying all things expected—wrongly—and May lashes out. In a gone-viral way. And then she’s on her own; broke, lost and, most importantly, not knowing who she is and what she wants.

Ben is on the mend. His hot-headedness made him lose everything on both a personal and a professional level, and now he’s got to find a way to stand on his own two feet. Maybe chatting up the tall blond girl with the deer-caught-in-headlights eyes, and appearing civil is just what he needs. Offering her his couch to spend the night and then become her tour guide in an effort to make her see the city he loves through his own eyes is way more than he bargained for. But he does it. And he loves it. It … not her, surely. Because if these two are to be together, they must not only step outside their comfort zone; they must make a record-breaking leap and re-invent themselves while at it. Can love be their launching pad?

Ruthie Knox is my queen. She’ll say she looks nothing like a queen just like the characters she creates are anything but royalty. Normal, everyday men and women, far from stunning and perfect. Ruthie is one of the Wonkomance ladies. All of their characters are faulty either internally or externally. (One of my favorite Ruthie characters is Sean from Flirting with Disaster, who stutters so much he won’t even pronounce Katie’s name.)

But writing-wise she’s the Queen of romance. I haven’t read anyone who’s delved deeper than her in her characters’ psyche. She’s capable of unpicking their long-ingrained threads of beliefs, prejudices, stereotypes thoroughly, slowly, expertly until they emerge cleansed and shed in a whole new glorious light.

All of her books are life lessons, and Truly is one of the most important. Mild-mannered, good-natured May with the faulty self-image is a character that will resonate with most readers. Instilling her love to self-doubting, perennially angry Ben is beyond sweet. Standing up to her life choices is beyond empowering. Ben is a chef, and him feeding May real, messy, calory-clogged food just to see her moan must be one of the most arousing, non-bedroom scenes I’ve ever read. Tasting New York as May experiences it beats seeing it through Carry Bradshaw’s eyes with a solid broomstick—dressed in a tutu (okay, that was an over-the-top Sex and the City analogy, but you get my point).

Have you guessed how much I loved this book? I laughed, cried and everything in between. Ruthie’s writing is a study on how not to write a single romance cliché. Heartwarming, funny, steamy hot, heart-clenching at times, and so gloriously real, this is a must MUST read.

Official Blurb

May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin?

Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21521738-truly-the-new-york-series

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Ruthie KnoxAuthor Info

New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-based romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award.

Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life. Ruthie also writes New Adult romance as Robin York. She moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website and drop her a line.

 

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TRULY

EXCERPT

(from Chapter One)

The bartender had begun cleaning the counter with a damp rag. He shuffled closer to her, sweep by sweep, and cleared his throat.

Nervous, May lifted her beer and drained it, realizing only with the last warm swallow what she’d done.

“Can I get you another round?” he asked.

This was it, then. Time to go.

But the line was behind her, drawn across the floor, invisible but there, and she didn’t want to leave.

She had to choose. Dan’s apartment or this bar. Before or After.

“Maybe,” she said. “Do you have a wine list?”

“I think we’ve got one somewhere in the back.” His disapproving tone made it clear that no one ever asked for a wine list here. Which, yes—she might not know Manhattan, but she knew bars—this was not the sort of place where you asked for a wine list.

“Can you look for me?”

“Sure.” He put his rag down and walked toward a door marked private. She saw him roll his eyes as he passed the guy.

The guy didn’t look up. He wasn’t interested in the bartender any more than he was interested in her. But his companion wasn’t here yet, and maybe wasn’t coming. He could talk to her for a few minutes, buy her a drink. It wouldn’t kill him.

May hopped off her stool, sucked in her stomach, and approached. “What are you reading?” she asked.

The guy canted the book so she could see the cover, but his hand covered most of the title. All she could read was the word Dying.

“Any good?”

He didn’t look at her. He was a bent, dark head, an ear, a declaratory elbow. When she heard a low voice, it took her a second to understand that it belonged to him. “They’ve got their mother’s corpse in a coffin in the back of this wagon, and they’re taking her into town to bury her. The youngest kid thinks the dead mother is a fish, but he also thinks she can’t breathe, so he bores holes into the coffin and right into her face.”

The bridge of her nose wrinkled. A totally involuntary response.

“One of the two older sons is going insane,” he added. “The other one’s broken leg is starting to rot, and the sister’s knocked up.”

A few beats passed. She tried to think of some kind of segue into normal conversation. The best she could do was “Yeah, but is it any good?”

“It’s super.” He injected the maximum amount of sarcasm into the word.

Sarcasm didn’t scare her. Her sister, Allie, had spent her freshman and sophomore years of high school dripping it all over everyone.

“I’m May.” She extended her hand.

He looked away from the book then, though not at her face. At her hand first. Then down at her shoes, which made him frown. She allowed him some leeway there, because she was wearing dark green leather flats with bows on the toes, and she didn’t like them much, either.

When he lifted his gaze, it got stuck on her breasts for an uncomfortable period of twelve to fifteen years. “Ben,” he told them.

This offense was harder to forgive. Men had been addressing her breasts since she was thirteen. Her breasts had yet to respond to this treatment.

I’m up here.

She didn’t say it aloud, but his head lifted, and he finally looked right at her.

He had sort of sleepy eyelids that went with his broad-planed face, his full mouth—a face that made her think of bear-taming and those male dancers in the tall black boots and flouncy white shirts who crossed their arms and stuck their legs out.

Slavic, that was it.

His eyes were brown, lighter than they should have been in the middle and rimmed with black. Weird eyes.

Weirder still, he didn’t seem embarrassed to have been caught boob-ogling, and he didn’t take her hand. She had to retrieve it from the air in between them and find a place to stow it along the seam of her pants.

“What’s with the jersey?” he asked.

“Hmm?”

“Season doesn’t start until next week.”

Oh. The stupid jersey. Not her breasts.

“Believe me, I know.”

“Plus, Einarsson is a douche.”

Right. That.

Even back home, she sometimes got flack about continuing to wear the old jersey of a quarterback who’d abandoned the Packers for the Jets, only to lead his new team to a Super Bowl victory against the old one. She might as well be sporting a pin that read, I support Benedict Arnold!

Still, douche seemed a little harsh.

Ben sat up straighter, his eyes refocusing on something over her right shoulder. He slid off his bar stool and raised a hand. May turned just as another man came off the last basement step and into the bar. A blond, good-looking man who actually knew how to smile.

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The Mariner’s Gift by Kaylie Newell (Tasty Book Blast)

Brought to you by Tasty Book Tours, Kaylie Newell’s, the Mariner’s Gift, is a summer read guaranteed to please. Zola seems confident and composed on the outside, but seeing her high school crush, Oliver, still gorgeous and sought after, brings all her teen insecurities to the surface. Yet a single kiss blasts sparks brighter than the fireworks lighting up the night sky…

If I’ve sparked your interest, read on to sample the book through an excerpt and…

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Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you least expect.

When LA Times journalist Zola Mitchell decides to head home to San Francisco in December, it’s to write a piece on the legendary Alcatraz prison. It has nothing to do with her high school crush Oliver Tworek, who’s recently moved back to start up a tour boat business to The Rock. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But when Oliver asks her to dinner, Zola can’t refuse. And when he kisses her under a display of Christmas fireworks from aboard his boat, she can barely remember her own name.

After twenty years, nothing seems to have changed. Oliver’s still popular and gorgeous, and Zola’s still…well, Zola. Behind the successful job, and underneath her shiny, new grown-up exterior, Zola still feels like the skinny girl from junior year English class. Will she ever be able to conquer those insecurities? And more importantly, will she ever get to know the real Oliver—the one who might just have a few secrets of his own?

 

Excerpt

“Zo?”

She smiled, feeling the blood rush to her cheeks. She hadn’t told him she was coming and hoped he wouldn’t be irritated. The thought of surprising him had seemed romantic and fun earlier. Now, with him actually standing there, wearing nothing but a pair of loose-fitting jeans and a sexy white t-shirt that left little to the imagination, she wondered if she should have given him some notice.

“Oliver! Hey.” She took his hand and let him help her over the side of the boat. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything. I know you’re working.”

His skin felt delicious on hers. He held on just a second longer than he needed to before stepping back to take her in.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You know I wanted to see you.”

He looked fantastic. And very much in shape. The old Coast Guard t-shirt fit just right across his chest, and was snug enough that his nipples, hard from the cold night air, could be seen under the fabric.

Zola caught herself looking and shoved the cookies at him, flustered. “Hope you like chocolate chip. They’re kind of a Mitchell tradition.”

“Thank you.”

A string of white lights hung behind him in the window, illuminating him like some kind of angel. But unlike any angel she’d ever imagined before. This angel made her want to discard her undergarments in the bay and tackle him headfirst.

Touching her elbow, he guided her toward the cabin. “You must be cold.”

“I really shouldn’t stay. I just wanted to say hello.”

He grinned. “I think you can probably come inside for five minutes, can’t you? I won’t bite.”

Really? At this point all she could think about was when he’d end up biting and where that might be.

She took the first step down, careful not to twist her ankle in the heels. They were too much for a casual visit, but who was she kidding anyway? She could feel him behind her and something about stepping into the cabin of the boat, which was so secluded and sexy, made her ovaries twitch. She had to bend slightly so as not to bump her head through the doorframe, then straightened to look around.

The small area was bathed in warm, yellow light from a miniature lamp in the corner. A table top tree under one of the circular windows smelled of pine and boasted shining glass balls of green, red, and blue. Dark, cherry wood cabinets rose from floor to ceiling on either side of her. There was a small bed and a tiny kitchen area, and next to that a workspace where a pile of papers was spread out. The boat was beautiful. It rocked seductively on the water, and even that didn’t bother Zola, thanks to the magic of Dramamine.

Something else was working its magic on her too. Maybe it was the temperature inside the cabin, warm and cozy enough that she felt the need to start unbuttoning her jacket. Or maybe it was the way Oliver stood leaning against the doorway looking at her. Like he wanted to be the one to work the buttons loose. His short, blond hair was messy and soft looking. His eyes not holding much back.

Zola laid her jacket on the bunk, trying her best to look composed and confident. When in reality, big, clumsy butterflies were bumping around in her belly. The air between them was charged. She knew he wanted more than just the kiss they’d shared the last time they saw each other. And she did too.

 

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Kaylie Newell lives at the base of the mountains in Southern Oregon with her husband, two little girls, two cats, and a mutt named Pedro who goes everywhere with her. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually watching a Channing Tatum movie or eating frozen waffles, or both.
 
 
 
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Black Rook by Kelly Meade (Paranormal romance) – Review

Black Rook, Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1

By Kelly Meade

Available July 15th from Intermix

ISBN 9780698165441

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Penguin | BAM

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My Review

Brynn plucks up courage she doesn’t have to enter a loup garou town. The charmed pendant hanging around her neck helps as it covers her Magus smell. Because if the man she intends to stop from killing her father takes a whiff of her true scent, then she’s dead meat!

But killing a handsome loup on his turf to show to her demeaning father that she’s worthy to be called his daughter and save his life, proves to be a lot more difficult than she thought. Especially when she finds out first-hand that the loup are hardly animals, as she was brought up to believe, and definitely not the villains in an impending war that could lead to their extermination.

Rook is the third son of the run’s alpha, but as a black wolf he’s entitled to take his father’s place instead of his older brother who’s been training his entire life for leadership. Falling for a Magus and mating her will instantly banish any plans to become the leader. Does she mean that much to him and, most importantly, can he trust his enemy when his world is falling apart?

Although I’ve been on a paranormal hiatus lately, and I’m not a big werewolf fan, I enjoyed this book. Not much emphasis is laid on the actual shifting and animal form of the loup, but Kelly Meade manages to seep their human form with all the loup traits that give them their distinct behavior—from natural aggressiveness, distrust, loyalty and team-spirit to the acute sense of smell and the mouth-watering physique you’d expect of a loup garou.

Their physical differences from the Magi, the ancient, tall, slim and pale creatures, led to inevitable racism that turned to hatred when the loup numbers kept increasing. Without wanting to give away too much of the plot, the element of eugenics with a military intent, creating deadly killing machines, is part of the story and that in itself held great interest. Let’s just say that vampires are thought upon as pawns, but they develop their own lethal agenda.

Initially, the story was quite slow building as a number of characters with backstories had to be introduced, but the impending clash with the conflicts, twists and culminating drama towards the end compensates. There were parts especially where the vampires were involved that had me devouring the pages! Another aspect that’s worth mentioning is that the romance takes the back seat here. It’s slow and tentative with an explosive climax (pun intended) but it’s not the main driver in this multi-faceted story.

Clashing races, preternatural skills, power struggles, an intricate plot and a love that grows strong are the elements of this promising new series.

For a hearty excerpt, read the book’s first chapter as presented in my excerpts’ blog here.

Author Bio

Raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Freddy Krueger and “Fear Street” novels, Kelly Meade developed a love for all things paranormal at a very young age. The stealthy adolescent theft of a tattered paperback from her grandmother’s collection of Harlequins sparked an interest in romance that has continued to this day.

Black Rook is the first novel in her Cornerstone Run series, a paranormal romance trilogy from Berkley Intermix that also includes Gray Bishop and White Knight. It follows three loup garou brothers who will do anything to protect their town, their family, and the secret of their existence—and maybe fall in love in the process.

Writing as Kelly Meding, Three Days to Dead is the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series. The series follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the DeadAnother Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Book five, Requiem for the Dead, is available digitally through all platforms.

Trance begins the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four MetaWars books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.

LINKS

Website: http://www.kellymeding.com

Blog: http://chaostitan.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KellyMeding

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelly-Meding/84164375745

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kellymeding

Tumblr: http://kellymeade.tumblr.com

 

 

 

Legally Undead by Margo Bond Collins (Review)

Blurb

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.

My Review

When doctorate student and bride-to-be, Elle Dupree, comes home one Monday evening, the last thing she expects is to kill a vampire. She had good reason though: he sucked her fiancé dry.

The next thing Elle knows is that she’s on the fast track to become a vampire slayer. She joins a team of vampire hunters employed by her fiance’s boss who has his own dark agenda. But Elle is more worried about her ex’s agenda as it turns out he’s not entirely dead, and he drags her into a nocturnal, sickeningly alluring world of unnatural beauty and nauseating vices that can seriously mess with a human’s head … and blood pressure.

Margo Bond Collins does a great job in this action-packed urban fantasy. Her writing is lean, and nothing feels out of place. The upbeat tempo is kept throughout the book, and that helped me stomach the gory scenes because a couple of time they toyed with my limits.

In fact, that’s the element that surprised me and not in an all positive manner. The title and official blurb had prepared me for a vampiric read on the lighter side, but this one was gruesome at times. Elle turns into such a vampire hater, she even resorts to sadism. To be honest, I’m not so sure I sympathized with her aims. After all, the vampires really did not do anything they weren’t asked to do, and then she goes after them guns blazing so, naturally, they react the only way the can to defend their, well, existence. I do admit, though, that this could be subjective. Ahh, vampires: old loves die hard… (literally).

But apart from sort of rooting for the vamps instead of the heroine, I must say I enjoyed this read—especially the clever writing.

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About the Author

 

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

 

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Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.net

Blog: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

Be sure to add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18366353-legally-undead

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