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I review young adult books by new and upcoming authors.
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1. GIVEAWAY, REVIEW: FIRE DOWN BELOW, Debra Anastasia









#‎FireDownBelow‬  

 ▴Amazon US ➜ amzn.to/1HvQywp 

▴Amazon UK ➜ amzn.to/1DgCa4U 

▴Amazon AU ➜ bit.ly/1CkOCDU 

▴KoBo ➜ bit.ly/166Xtej 

▴iBooks ➜ bit.ly/1Kfvpmh 

▴B&N ➜ TBA













Dove Glitch is embarrassed about everything above her knees and below her belly button. When she has to fill a delicate, embarrassing prescription the last thing she needs is a sexy-as-hell (and brand spanking new) pharmacist behind the counter.

Johnson Fitzwell’s first day of his dream career also happens to coincide with the exact moment Dove needs her feminine meds filled. His glorious voice is way too loud–as in, he should be counting down the hits with Ryan Seacrest kind of loud. Thanks to Johnson’s handsome face and gorgeous jaw line, Dove dives headlong into her waking nightmare and asks for a vagina-scented cream.

How could she not fall for him? Dove's only active goal now is to get Johnson to kiss her right on the lips. Either set. However, his horrible girlfriend is one of many obstacles preventing her from making that fantasy a reality. When Dove defends Johnson in the most unhygienic, unconventionally gross way in the middle of a crowded restaurant, their tender, slightly tantric relationship is off to a galloping, farting start.

Each print copy of this book will be dipped in holy water by my mom, and glared at by my father as he purses his lips. Neither will help. So, drop your pants and turn to the left and cough. I hope you're not allergic to latex, because it’s time to fill your prescription. Anally.



Oh God. We’re talking about me being naked, in the shower with cooter cream. Please world, end. Kill me.
“I know it’s not soap. I just… if it’s scented… I can’t do scented. Flowers and stuff
like that. Fruit-flavored soaps make… things… burnish.” She could tell from the
peeks at his face Mr. Fitzwell had never stepped foot in bath and lotion store,
wanting to try the array of fun fragrances. Nor had he purchased Peppermint
Candy shower gel, foamed up his nether regions, and felt like he had dipped
them in lava. Dove crossed and uncrossed her legs at the memory.
Mr. Fitzwell seemed concerned. “Okay, just a heads-up. It’s definitely not good to
put any fruits or plant life near your genitals.” He made a V with his hands
and formed his own pretend vagina in front of his pants.
Dove covered her eyes and tried to defend herself because now she could hear the
sickly older woman beating her supporters with a purse.
Dove’s mumbling got louder with her embarrassment. “I don’t put weird things down…
there. Just make sure that the cream’s vagina-scented. Just plain. For vaginas.” She kept her eyes on the counter. 


There are a lot of eyes in Debra Anastasia’s house in Maryland. First, her own creepy peepers are there, staring at her computer screen. She’s made two more sets of eyes with her body, and the kids they belong to are amazing. The poor husband is still looking at her after 17 years of marriage. At least he likes to laugh. Then the freaking dogs are looking at her—six eyeballs altogether though the old dog is blind. And the cat watches her too, mostly while knocking stuff off the counter and doing that internal kitty laugh when Deb can’t catch the items fast enough.
          

Debra has a smattering of books in a few genres. There are two in the Seraphim Series and three in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series with a prequel, Poughkeepsie Begins in the near future. Fire Down Below is the first in the comedic Gynzaule Series. The second, Fire in the Hole, will be published in late 2015. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance will debut this summer. And last, a novella called Late Night with Andres is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) You can find her at DebraAnastasia.com and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared...

 
Social Media Links:
This is one of the giveaways for US residents ONLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2. Cover Reveal: NEED ME, Tessa Bailey

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey, comes the next fun and sexy novel in her Broke and Beautiful trilogy!

On Sale 4/21/15

“How did this tweed-wearing English professor turn out to be my dirtiest hero ever? Cause he really is.”--Tessa Bailey

When Honey Perribow traded in her cowboy boots for stilettos and left her small Kentucky town to attend Columbia University, she never expected to find a dirt-cheap apartment or two new best friends. No stranger to hard work, Honey’s sole focus is a medical degree...until she sees newly-minted Professor, Ben Dawson, and her concentration is hijacked. Honey is fascinated by her gorgeous, young English professor and vows to find a crack his tweed-wearing, glasses-clad exterior.

While at an off campus party, an accident lands Ben in a dark, locked closet with a sexy-sounding southern belle...and their chemistry is explosive. But when he discovers that the girl in his arms is the same beautiful student he can’t stop thinking about, he is stunned. Student-teacher relationships are strictly forbidden…yet no matter how hard he tries, Ben can’t stay away from Honey.

And when his attempts to fight their attraction nearly ruin the best thing that ever happened to him, Ben will do anything to prove how much he needs her.



About Tessa Bailey

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

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3. Cover Reveal: UNTAMED, S.C. Stephens

I am so excited for this book. Griffin is such a character in the THOUGHTLESS series that his getting his own story is simply amazing. This cover is EXACTLY how I pictured him too! Longish hair, medium build, and gorgeous in a wet t-shirt! 

Book will be released 
Nov. 3, 2015



About UNTAMED

Griffin Hancock is tired of being stuck behind Kellan Kyle's spotlight. He's the best, the main event, and everyone should know it. He has Anna, and his beautiful daughter Gibson, and to hell with the rest of them. A new venture presents itself, and Griffin decides this is his chance. When he tells the band about his new side gig, they are less than supportive. Undaunted by their criticism, Griffin decides to take matters into his own hands. Packing up his family, he leaves Seattle behind and returns to L.A. to break out on his own. But success isn't as easy as Griffin thought it would be, and he soon finds that the phrase 'You don't know what you've got until it's gone', is all too true.




About S.C. Stephens

S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who enjoys creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she likes spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.  She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest. 

Connect with S.C. online!

@SC_Stephens_

Pre-order UNTAMED

Soon to be at retailers everywhere including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, iTunes, Kobo, and IndieBound too!


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4. Blog Tour & Review, Excerpt and Rafflecopter Giveaway: THOUGHTFUL, SC Stephens

I originally wanted to interview Kiera Allen for my blog tour; unfortunately, she was too busy. I'm sorry guys, I thought it would've been a great interview to find out how she felt about Kellan writing his side of the story. But alas, it's not to be. However, her biographer S.C. Stephen graciously answered some stock answers (not mine) and here they are. Below will be my review of THOUGHTFUL. (Quotations are mine and mine alone)

1. Why set your books in Seattle? 

I know the city, so I felt comfortable writing about it.

2. Were Kellan and the D-Bags inspired by a specific band? 

Not one in particular. I was listening to a lot of OneRepublic, The Fray, and Linkin’ Park at the time, so they are sort of a mixture of all three bands. How did you come up with the name? It came about while I was writing it. I was doing the scene where Griffin is talking about the T-shirts, and once he said Douchebags, I knew that was it. (One Direction???)

3. Many readers say Kellan was the first/favorite book boyfriend. What do you think appeals to readers about him? 

I think it’s a mixture of his job, his past, his looks, his pain, and the fact that he is so incredibly devoted to the people he cares about. (He seemed like a real character and not overly fake like some book boyfriends out there. How many billionaires do we need?)

4. Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?

Edward Cullen will always be my favorite book boyfriend. Sigh. I love him. (Mr. Darcy, anyone?)

5. What are five books on your night stand? 

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Love, in English by Karina Halle. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken. (All decent in their own right.)




Thoughtful Excerpt


Determined to stop thinking, to just go with whatever happened, I dipped my finger into my drink and wet the backs of our hands. Kiera watched every move I made as I shook some salt over our hands. When she made no move to drink her shot, I broke the ice and took mine so she’d feel more comfortable about doing this with me. My throat was numb from doing Jäger shots all night, so it didn’t even burn. It burned for Kiera though.

Her tongue came out to lick the salt off her hand, her mouth opened to receive her drink, and her lips curled around the lime, squeezing its juices. It was an erotic thing to watch. Then her face twisted into a grimace. I chuckled at her reaction, then poured us another round.

The second shot went down easier for her. The third was even easier. We didn’t talk, just drank. And the more alcohol she consumed, the hungrier her eyes became. She was staring at me as tenaciously as the women in the bar did. I did my best to ignore it, but it was difficult to do…I wanted her to look at me like that. I wanted to look at her like that. But I wasn’t about to make any assumptions on what was going to happen tonight. We were just two friends sharing a drink. Two single friends who had almost shared a lot more recently…

By the fourth shot, the alcohol was getting to me. I spilled the tequila trying to pour it in those tiny little glasses. I laughed as I almost dropped the lime from my mouth. I was way beyond buzzing now.

On the fifth shot, everything changed. Just as I was bending down to lick the salt from my skin, Kiera took my hand and ran her tongue over the back of it. She was soft, wet, warm, and felt amazing on my sensitive body. I wanted her to keep doing it, but she pulled back to drink her tequila shot. When she placed her wedge of lime between my lips, my heart sped up. Was she…?

She was. Her mouth reached up to connect with mine. Our lips pressed together as she sucked on the lime. All I could taste was lime and her. It was an intoxicating combination. But it wasn’t nearly satisfying enough. I needed more.

My breath felt strained when Kiera pulled away. Ragged. She teasingly removed the lime from her mouth and set it on the counter. When she seductively licked her fingers, my resolve evaporated. I suddenly didn’t give a shit what we’d been before, or who we’d been with. I didn’t care if she’d dated Denny—that seemed like a long-past memory at the moment. I didn’t care about Evan’s warnings, my regrettable experience with bedding roommates, my promise to Denny to stay away, or my own decision to not cross that uncrossable line. Kiera kissed me. She wanted me. And fuck, I wanted her too.

I took my shot of tequila straight, slammed the glass on the counter, then pulled her back to my mouth, where she belonged.

Our lips moving together felt better than I had imagined. There was so much eager, pent-up passion, I felt like we were both going to burst into flames. I couldn’t get enough of her. My hand on the back of her neck tightened, drawing her in even closer. My other hand found the small of her back. Perfection.


Rafflecopter Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Reading Level:Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Format:

Ebook (ARC)

Publisher:

Forever (Grand Central) 2/24/2015

Rating:

3


Kellan Kyle decides to tell his side of the story. We know from Kiera's side in Thoughtless that many emotions were running rampant when she realized that she was falling in love with her roommate and boyfriend's best friend. Because said boyfriend decided to take a job in another state (Arizona) leaving Kiera with a manwhore, Kellan.

Kellan is complex and we see that in Thoughtful but it wasn't necessary. We didn't learn anything different and everything that we did learn, we knew from the first book. Yes, we got to see a bit of Kellan with his parents (horrible), but we knew that from his telling Kiera. We saw some interaction with the rest of the D-Bags. But I wanted more there! I know it was Kellan's story to tell us about his romance with Kiera, but we've been there, done that. THREE TIMES!!!

The thing with his side of the story is that we're not learning anything new. I'm done with them. Write something new and fresh. Yes, the readers hound and hound you to tell us what he was thinking during this scene, but you know what? You wrote the original book in the way you did for a reason.

Do I recommend the book? Sure, why not. People are gonna get it, read it, devour it and consider it the best book ever. It's mindless fun and yeah, it's Kellan. Oh yeah, the cover... Kick Ass!

Thoughtless review HERE

Effortless review HERE

Reckless review HERE

Interview with D-Bags HERE

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5. BookCon News!!!!





ReedPOP, the world's largest producer of pop culture events and the creators of BookCon, today announced that New York Times bestselling author of Landline and Eleanor and ParkRainbow Rowell will be appearing at this year's second annual BookCon on May 30 for a conversation discussing her forthcoming book, CARRY ON.  Available this October, CARRY ON is an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from Rowell's beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Coming on the heels of the recent announcement that notable YA authors Tavi Gevinson, Sophia Rossi, Gayle Forman, Sarah Dessen, Marie Lu and Richelle Mead will be at BookCon, Rowell's addition brings another superstar name to the lineup, giving the YA genre a huge presence at this year’s event.



ABOUT BOOKCON:

ReedPOP's second annual BookCon will be at the Javits Center May 30-31.  As an original consumer extension of BookExpo America (May 27-29 at the Javits Center), BookCon has unprecedented access to the world's most accomplished authors and most influential publishing houses.  BookCon is designed to appeal to the modern-day book lover with an appreciation for broader pop-culture and where these worlds intersect. BookCon will feature a vibrant Show Floor with the world's most influential publishers including ABRAMS, Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and many more.  In addition to over 250 exhibitors, the Show Floor will house the Downtown Stage, home to innovative content like Q&As, Trivia and Illustrator events.

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6. Cover Reveal: TRYST, S.L. Jennings








TRYST by S.L. Jennings

On-sale 7/21/2014

Heidi DuCane is a tough-as-nails publicist with a passion for success and her husband Tucker. While they’re polar opposites, what they do have in common is a fierce love and commitment to each other. But their relationship-in and out of the bedroom-will be put to the ultimate test.

Rock superstar Ransom Reed is every woman’s fantasy, including Heidi’s. When she meets Ransom, she shares a wild night with him where Heidi gets to play-and Tucker watches, and enjoys, the pleasure Ransom gives Heidi. Though Tucker was a willing participant, Heidi still can’t help reeling with guilt. There’s no doubt that she loves her husband. While Tucker is the perfect lover-generous, attentive and gentle-she needs much more. He needs the mind-blowing ecstasy Ransom offers.

Tucker isn’t blind to the fact that Heidi has unconventional needs which he can’t satisfy. He loves his wife and will do anything to please her The night he watched her and Ransom was so scorching hot amnd Tucker can’t stop thinking about it. He decides he wants to join Ransom in pleasing Heidi. But as Tucker and Heidi soon realize, it’s not just the sex that is enticing. Heidi felt something within her awaken, and she felt so deliciously sated and loved by both men. Tucker felt it too, and he finds it impossible not to want that feeling again.

Ransom and Tucker satisfy a need within Heidi. And now that she’s had them, she can never go back to the way things were before.



Z

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7. Look at this gorgeous cover!!!

One of my favorite authors is releasing a book just in time for my birthday!!!! I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. It's right up my alley and well with my team just winning the SUPER BOWL, I'm doubly excited.

So without further ado...

Below is the synopsis



“Professional athletes are the pillars of their respective communities. They heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.”

The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame.

But being a hero is easier said than done. Especially when there are those who expected see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard and it broke me.

“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.”

I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.

But with a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most.

This is a story of about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, breaks you and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything.





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8. Cover Reveal and Rafflecopter Giveaway!


Book Information

Title: Halfway Perfect
Authors: Julie Cross and Mark Perini
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult

Summary

Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry

Eve's time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she's determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.

While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana.

But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won't let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?

Pre-order Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1C2jtkR
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1wU2rC4

About the Authors

Julie Cross is the international bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy. Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. Her knowledge of the modeling and fashion world comes from viewings of the movies The Devil Wears Prada, and Zoolander, and her unwavering devotion to the first three seasons of Ugly Betty. On a recent trip to NYC, she also took the time to walk past both the Gucci and Prada stores, spending at least 15 seconds viewing items through the windows.

Mark Perini is a New York City-based author debuting his first YA novel, Halfway Perfect. Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.

Mark began his career as an international fashion model ten years ago, while simultaneously obtaining a business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven wonders of the ancient world before he's thirty. Four down, three to go.

Julie Cross’ Social Networking Links
Website: http://www.juliecrossbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FansOfJulieCross
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Juliecross1980
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3429117.Julie_Cross

Mark Perini’s Social Networking Links
Website: http://www.markperini.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marktperini
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marktperini
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5649611.Mark_Perini

Rafflecopter Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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9. Cover Reveal, Asa, Jay Crownover

We are so excited about the cover reveal for Jay Crownover's ASA! ASA is the sixth and final book in Jay's Marked Men Series, published by HarperCollins. Check out the hot cover and don't forget to pre-order your copy today!




Image Map


Amazon US ** iBooks ** Barnes & Noble ** Kobo

About ASA:

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.



Marked men Banner

And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!

RULE

JET

ROME

NASH

ROWDY

And don't miss Jay at 3pm EST over at the Between The Covers page on Facebook today! Come chat with her!

Jay Crownover

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.





Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter ** ASA Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

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10. Book Review: FRENCH KISS International School Book 3, Chanel Cleeton


Reading Level:Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Format:

Ebook (ARC)

Publisher:

Self Pubbed 12/1/14

Rating:

4


"How do I love thee?
               Let me count the ways"


I probably should've reviewed the first two books in the series (I SEE LONDON and LONDON CALLING aka International School series). As much as I loved the first two books, the third one, to me was amazing. I absolutely adored Fleur and Max.

When you first meet Fleur in the first two books, she's a bitch. However, she is one that grows on you, quickly. Yes, she's an entitled mess, just breaking up with a long-term boyfriend who basically screwed her over. When she starts dating the nice and shy, quiet George, well it's a surprise. Especially for George's American roommate, Max. Who for the past two years has pined away quietly for the beautiful, yet untouchable French girl.

Watching those two get together after a series of missteps is comical. Fleur hates Max because he gave her the nickname of Ice Queen and it's stuck-- for four years. But when fate intercepts in the guise of a project planning class, they are thrust together on a project. With Max's brains and Fleur's beauty, the project becomes a bit of a nightmare in the beginning. But once the Ice Queen thaws and Max starts to see the real Fleur, do pheromones start to flare.

I would suggest reading the first two book so you know all the background information that is mentioned in this book, and I highly recommend those two books. I devoured them this past summer and loved, loved, loved them.

This third book is the cream on top and a very satisfying one at that!


BOOK SUMMARY:

On the surface, Fleur Marceaux has it all. If only the facade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her. 



There’s a social hierarchy at the International School and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble, despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride. 



The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she had thought was all wrong for her but might be the only thing that’s right. But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?



Don’t miss the final book in the International School series. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 17 and up.

BOOK LINKS:



FRENCH KISSED (International School Book #3)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1vlkljJ

I SEE LONDON (International School Book #1)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ibPGgh

LONDON FALLING (International School Book #2):
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/VxbiOd


AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise and a fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in Asia.

Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her fighter pilot husband. 

She is the author of I SEE LONDON and LONDON FALLING, published by Harlequin HQN, the upcoming FRENCH KISSED, and FLIRTING WITH SCANDAL, the first book in a new three-book series to be released by Penguin/Berkley in 2015. 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website:   www.chanelcleeton.com

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11. Book Review: Work of Art, Ruth Clampett


Reading Level:Contemporary Romance
Format:Ebook 
Publisher:
Self Published (Clampett Studio Collection)
Nov. 4. 2014
Rating:4


One thing most people don't know about me is my love of art. There's something magical going to a museum and seeing the masterpieces that were created hundreds of years ago. The colors, the light, the sheer artistry of it all. I'm lucky if I can draw stick figures and even then, I suck at it.

So when this story sorta fell into my lap, I had to read it. Art had a renaissance in the 70s, but I don't think we've seen one since then. I mean there's Banksy, but I really haven't heard a name that has inspired me quiet like Basquiat or even Warhol. Although I tend to prefer the Masters (Renoir, Monet, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, et al.) I can appreciate good art even in the 21st century.

Which brings us to this story. Maxfield Caswell is your traditional emo-bi-polar, narcissistic artist. He's young so he's volatile. He's difficult, but brilliant. Yet he manages to piss people off. He's a typical artiste. But things change when he meets Ava Jacobs at a gallery in NYC. Ava works for another gallery in LA and the connection is immediate. She's immediately warned against him, and he's warned to leave her alone. Rule number 1: Never tell two somewhat soul mates to stay away from each other. It never works that way.

When either a serendipitious or fortuitous opportunity arises for Ava, she jumps on it. Basically she's asked to write the text to Max's coffee table art book. Which means spending time with Max. Throughout the experience, she's made aware of all of Max's, well I'll call them, faults. He's a womanizer, he's depressed, and basically a mess. But the chemistry between them is palpable. She's in over her head and he's keeping her at arms length. She thinks he's not interested.

Throughout this story I was waiting for something, anything. I liked the story enough, but I felt like it could've gone a bit further in the relationship. There's a side story going on with Ava's publisher that is pushing to have a relationship with her, but she's keeping  him at arms length. It's Max that has her heart. But he's too volatile, she retreats.

I enjoyed this a lot. I love stories where the main character is so fucked up you're not sure if he can be redeemed. I had a hard time getting a bead on Ava. She came across as wishy washy and her back story isn't very fleshed out. The secondary characters help make the story work. As a spoiler, it ends on a cliffhanger, but I believe the next book will be out fairly soon.

A good story and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

work of art full cover

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In a life driven by passion, famed artist Maxfield Caswell lives in a world of brilliant color and drama, pushing his art and affairs to his emotional edge. He’s stunning, charismatic and celebrated in the art world, but are the trappings of fame also destroying him?

For years intelligent and bright-eyed Ava Jacobs has worked diligently toward a career in the art world. Ava is swept off her feet when she meets the passionate artist. She soon realizes, however, that he’s on a destructive path—one she doesn’t intend to join him on.

In the decadent world of patrons, art groupies, and predators, feisty and beautiful Ava knocks Max off his pedestal. A stunned Max sees something special in Ava and offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse. As their lives and passions collide, will he realize that she alone has the power to heal him? Can their hearts come together to create their own work of art?

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GUlqCWyFfk



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AMAZON US http://amzn.to/1wXiEaB

AMAZON UK http://amzn.to/10hea47

AMAZON CA http://amzn.to/1wVYMYX

BARNS AND NOBLE http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/work-of-art-book-1-the-inspiration-ruth-clampett/1120672807?ean=2940150694187

ITUNES https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks/id364709193?mt=8
giveaway ruth


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Ruth headshot C

Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director, Bob Clampett, has spent a lifetime surrounded by art and animation. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, her careers have included graphic design, photography, VP of Design for WB Stores and teaching photography at UCLA. She now runs her own studio as the fine art publisher for Warner Bros. where she’s had the opportunity to know and work with many of the greatest artists in the world of animation and comics.

The Work of Art Trilogy is Ruth’s third publishing endeavor, following Animate Me and Mr. 365. She lives in Los Angeles and is heavily supervised by her teenage daughter, lovingly referred to as Snarky, who loves art and visiting museums as much as her mom.

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12. Book Spotlight and Giveaway!!! THE HOOK UP, Kristen Callihan


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Book Information



Title: The Hook Up

Author: Kristen Callihan

Release Date: September 8, 2014

Genre: New Adult




Summary

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on

Excerpt

My mother once told me that the most important moment in my life wouldn’t be when I won the National Championship or even the Super Bowl. It would be when I fell in love.

Life, she insisted, is how you live it and who you live it with, not what you do to make a living. Given that she told me this when I was sixteen, I basically rolled my eyes and worked on practicing my pass fakes.

But my mother was insistent.

“You’ll see, Drew. One day, love will creep up and smack you upside the head. Then you’ll understand.”

My mom, it turns out, was wrong in one regard. Love, when it came for me, did not creep. No, it walked up to me, bold as you please, you know, just in case I wasn’t paying attention. It did, however, slap me upside my head.

And while I’d be happy to tell my mom that she was right about that, she’s dead. A fact that hurts even more now that I’ve been struck down. More like shot down. Cut off at the knees. Totally fucked. Whatever you want to call this disaster. Because the object of my affection hates me.

I am man enough to acknowledge that the cluster fuck that is my current love life is entirely my fault. I wasn’t prepared for Anna Jones.

I still cringe at the memory of when I first laid eyes on her at the beginning of the semester. Being late for class, I’d rushed to a seat in the back row, and was trying to remain unnoticed. I can’t go anywhere on campus without getting attention. And though it sounds like an awesome thing, it gets tiring.

When the roll call reached the back row, a soft voice, rich and thick as maple syrup, slid over me.

“Anna Jones.”

Just her name. That was all she’d said. It was like a hot finger stroking down my spine. My head snapped up. And there she was, so fucking pretty that I couldn’t think straight. I might as well have been sacked.

Breathless, my head ringing, I could only gape. I’m not going to say it was love at first sight. No, it was more like oh, hell-yes-please, I’ll have that. With a helping of right-the-fuck-now on the side.

Thinking maybe I was overtired and simply overreacting to something that wasn’t really there, I stared at Anna Jones and tried to make sense of my extreme reaction.

As if feeling my gaze, she’d turned, and fucking hell… Her eyes were wide, almost cat-like, with the corners tilting up just a bit. At first, those eyes appeared brown, but they were really bottle green. And so clear. And annoyed. She glared at me. I didn’t care. One word was playing a loop in my head: mine.

I don’t remember the rest of the class. I watched Anna Jones like a condemned man getting his last view of the setting sun. While she tried to ignore me. Admirably.

The second class ended I shot up, and so did she. We nearly collided in the middle of the aisle. And then it all fell to shit.


Pre-order Link


Author Biography

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading. 


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13. Blog Review: Face Time, Life in the Digital Age. S.J. Pajonas


Reading Level:Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Format:

Ebook

Publisher:

Onigiri Press 4/25/14

Rating:

4


This book is "what happens when ELEANOR AND PARK grow up and move away." As much as I liked E&P, I liked this one a bit better. The characters Laura (Caucasian) and Lee (Korean American) are likable characters. Extremely so. I had a hard time getting a feel for how Laura looked. I know that she was toned, she had brownish/reddish hair and was 5'7. But Lee gets more descriptors and I honestly kinda inserted Daniel Dae-Kim in that role (Jin from LOST). 

There is a bit of a cute-meet in the book, but it adds to the flavor of the book. Laura shows up at the Blue Room at the Alqonquin Hotel (gorgeous hotel btw) to meet up with single co-workers after work. Unfortunately she's been stood up and isn't in the best of moods. So when this guy starts insinuating himself into her conversation with the bartender, she gets a bit snippy. Fortunately for her, she's snippy with the gorgeous Lee. To apologize she buys him a drink. From there they talk pretty much for the evening and a connection is made.

Unfortunately, Lee is only in the States for a day and half. Lee, not one to let something good go past. Asks Laura out to dinner for the next night. Laura questions her sanity going out with someone who lives in Korea. We find out that Lee is originally from Seattle. So he's American born and bred, but took a job in Korea with a high-powered law firm. Laura works for HBO.

The book is told in alternating POVs and I loved that because we got inside both of their heads. Once Lee leaves for Korea is when the romance really heats up. They talk over Face Time when they can and when Lee's schedule allows them too. He travels all over Asia for his job and Laura is stuck in NYC with a crazy mom. Being a third party to the growing romance might seem a bit voyeuristic, but I found myself smiling.

As we learn more about Laura and Lee, we see into their former home life and how different it was, but in some ways similar. Laura was treated horribly by her parents after a brief time of rebellion. Lee's mother wants him to marry a Korean woman. He wants to marry for love and not acceptance and standing.

My only issue with the book was the abrupt ending. It could've gone on forever for me. Hurry up and purchase this book. You'll fall in love with it just as much as I did.


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14. Book Review: BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION, Jamie McGuire.


Reading Level:Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Format:

Ebook 

Publisher:

Atria (Simon & Schuster)  7/1/2014

Rating:

2


I had pretty high expectations for this book. It's been highly touted on Goodreads, several blogs, EW, etc. Jamie McGuire hit a high note with BEAUTIFUL DISASTER (see my review here). But she falls flat with this Maddox Brothers continuation.

I liked Trent in BD. He seemed like the obvious choice for a book. What went wrong for me was the time period which was during the BD storyline. Couldn't she have made it separate? Does it always have to go back to Travis? Why not let Trent star in his own story?

However that wasn't the main problem. The writing just wasn't there. It didn't keep me glued to my e-reader like BD did. I'm not going to mention WALKING DISASTER because that was a mess. (Um, guess I just mentioned it.)

I like Jamie's style of writing, I do. But she can't try to replicate the success she had with BD with every book she writes. With the exception of not nearly enough F words in this outing, Trent and Travis were interchangeable. There was no difference between the two. Okay, they're brothers, but they're not the same person. I wanted to love Trent, but I think I only just liked his character.

Cami Camlin. She was wishy washy and the 'secret' romance she had going on was too predictable and the glaring hints really didn't make it a surprise at all. If you read Travis' book, you know what Tom is. That's all I have to say on that one.

The roommate, Brazil and the bouncer. Annoying. I really didn't give too much to them and found it slowed the story down a bit. It's pretty bad when you can't remember their names either.

A big disappointment, will I read the next book in the series? Most likely. I hope the typos are not quite as prominent as they were in this one. 

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15. FATHER'S DAY GIVEAWAY!!!

I'm giving away a copy of JAMES MADISON: A Life Reconsidered.

As a political science major and one who focused on THE FEDERALIST PAPERS. Specifically the ones written by Madison and Hamilton. This book should be a good one! For those of you who have husbands that love history or dads who just like to read, ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY!

I will need to pick a winner by JUNE 10, for you to receive book by Dad's Day.  Just Enter in the Rafflecopter linked.  Easy Peasy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


JAMES MADISON: A Life Reconsidered
By Lynne Cheney
(Viking / On-sale: May 6, 2014; $36.00; ISBN: 9780670025190)

Praise:
“Lucidly written… this is probably the best single volume bio of Madison that we now have.”
—Gordon Wood, New York Times Book Review

“The book is a lovingly researched tribute to an often-underestimated man. It does not explicitly refer to modern controversies. But present-day politics intrudes.”
The Economist

“Cheney might have written a book that made Madison a prop in today’s political battles. She did not, which is greatly to her credit and true to the life of the man.”
Washington Post

“Meticulously researched, richly detailed look at the life and times of Madison, former Second Lady Cheney fleshes out the achievements and struggles of this American founding father…authoritative, conversational, certainly confident in its analysis.” 
Publishers Weekly
“A proficiently argued account for Madison’s greatness.”
Kirkus Reviews
"With this compelling, elegant, original biography, Lynne Cheney brings the great, elusive James Madison back to life, reminding us of how powerfully this brilliant Founder’s political and intellectual leadership has shaped the course of American history.  In this era in which Madison is too often eclipsed by more histrionic Founders, Cheney shows us his crucial, fascinating relationships with Dolley, Thomas Jefferson and an all-star cast, and lets us witness the growth of a world-changing political philosopher. Her book demonstrates why Madison deserves to stand near the center of our early American firmament.”  
Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors and Presidential Courage
“James Madison did as much to put his stamp on the nation as any of the founders, yet too rarely is he given his due in the pantheon of America’s statesman. In this stunning, brilliant work, Lynne Cheney rectifies this glaring oversight, and brings Madison to life as never before. Written with subtlety and grace, the book is as groundbreaking as it is fresh, as enthralling as it is compulsively readable. It is nothing short of a masterpiece that deserves to be in the bookshelf of every history buff!”
Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval
"After more than 25 years working on the Madison Papers, it's not often that I read something about him that is fresh and engaging, and discovers new aspects of his life and character.  Cheney's exploration of Madison's health issues, not only as a young man, but throughout his career, is imaginative and groundbreaking. Her writing is both fluid and polished; the tone is measured and judicious; there isn't a strident note in the whole book. And, an added plus, her treatment of Madison as a political actor is informed by a sophisticated knowledge of politics, without in any way being presentist.” 
David B. Mattern, Research Professor and Senior Associate Editor, Papers of James Madison, University of Virginia

WHOLynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author or co-author of twelve books, includes six bestsellers about American history for children and their families.  Cheney’s most recent book is We the People: The Story of Our Constitution (2008). 
WHAT: Cheney, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, has been studying Madison since 1987, when she was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution.  She has spent the last five years immersed in Madison archival materials, and the result is a lively, intimate, and compelling narrative that takes the reader through the history-altering events in which Madison played key roles.  He was not only the Father of the Constitution, but the leader of the first Congress and President Washington’s most influential advisor.  He used both positions and a political savvy unmatched since to secure passage of the Bill of Rights. In 1812, he became the first president to lead the nation in war under the Constitution, and he was not only as steady a commander-in-chief as the nation has ever known, he was a friend of liberty, refusing to silence those opposed to war, although many pressed him to do so.

WHY: Father of the Constitution, principle author of the Bill of Rights, founder of the first opposition party, secretary of state, and fourth president, Madison was both a far-seeing theorist and a masterful politician, who despite all he accomplished has been overshadowed by other Founders.  Mrs. Cheney covers the sweep of Madison’s significant life, exploring his deeds, his mind, and his character to reveal the brilliance and determination that enabled this seemingly modest man to change the world.  Debunking the myths that have burdened his reputation, she shows us the Madison lauded by his famous contemporaries—Washington, Adams, Jefferson—and loved by his glamorous wife, Dolley. 

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16. Cover Reveal: Alex: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel by Sawyer Bennett

COVER REVEAL! ALEX: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel by Sawyer Bennett


Loveswept (Random House) is thrilled to debut the cover of ALEX: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett! ALEX is the first in a sexy and exciting new series that’s hot enough to melt the ice…


















ALEX (A Cold Fury Hockey Novel)
Loveswept Contemporary Romance
Written by Sawyer Bennett
On sale: October 14, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-553-39300-2

About ALEX: 

Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy… not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
 
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships… or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.
  
Get your copy of ALEX (A Cold Fury Hockey Novel)

Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  Other retailers

About Sawyer Bennett
USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.


Connect with Sawyer
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Street Team

Connect with Loveswept
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Street Team

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17. Petals on the Wind!

I'm kinda excited for this. I mean, it's been over thirty years since I've read these books and they still hold some fascination for me. I got an email from Simon & Schuster asking me to post this information for you!



FICTION INTO FILM: Pick up Petals on the Wind May 20th and watch the movie May 26th!

WATCH: The movie trailer, and tune in to Lifetime on Monday, May 26th, 9:00 pm ET to watch the World Premier of Petals on the Wind!

ENTER TO WIN: Go to the Pocket Books Facebook page beginning May 20th to enter the sweepstakes for a prize pack of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind, and the Flowers in the Attic DVD.  Visit right before tuning into Petals on the Wind late May for the sweepstakes giveaway (date to be announced)!

Petals on the Wind cast:
Heather Graham               as Corrine
Ellen Burstyn                    as Olivia
Dylan Bruce                     as Bart
Rose McIver                     as Young Cathy (played by Kiernan Shipka in Flowers in the Attic)
Wyatt Nash                       as Christopher (played by Mason Dye in Flowers in the Attic)




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18. Catherine Eyre's Back 2 Good



I've posted a widget for my readers to check out new author, Catherine Eyre's debut novel that she is sharing on Wattpad. She's very excited to share this and I'm happy that she's asked me to be the one to introduce you to her work. You can also click on the above link to get to it as well!

Now while her work is still in progress, I think you'll notice the writing style and storytelling is flowing quite well. She's let me know that it's still being edited so it's a rough draft of this. Please feel free to share with friends or read for yourself and see if you're interesting in her style.

I'm really proud of her and look forward to many good things from her. She hasn't set up a blog yet, but you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and email. I'll post the links below.

Happy Reading!

How to reach Catherine Eyre:

FACEBOOK

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

EMAIL

TWITTER

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19. FALLEN BEAUTY Blog Tour & Giveaway




“Without sin, can we know beauty? Can we fully appreciate the summer without the winter? No, I am glad to suffer so I can feel the fullness of our time in the light.”

Upstate New York, 1928. Laura Kelley and the man she loves sneak away from their judgmental town to attend a performance of the scandalous Ziegfeld Follies. But the dark consequences of their night of daring and delight reach far into the future.…

That same evening, Bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her indulgent husband hold a wild party in their remote mountain estate, hoping to inspire her muse. Millay declares her wish for a new lover who will take her to unparalleled heights of passion and poetry, but for the first time, the man who responds will not bend completely to her will.…

Two years later, Laura, an unwed seamstress struggling to support her daughter, and Millay, a woman fighting the passage of time, work together secretly to create costumes for Millay’s next grand tour. As their complex, often uneasy friendship develops amid growing local condemnation, each woman is forced to confront what it means to be a fallen woman…and to decide for herself what price she is willing to pay to live a full life.

“Lovers of the Jazz Age, literary enthusiasts, and general historic fiction readers will find much to love about Call Me Zelda. Highly recommended.” –Historical Novel Society, Editors’ Choice(less)





















Erika Robuck, critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s Girl and Call Me Zelda, returns with another fascinating novel featuring a literary figure… this time, charismatic 1930s poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay. 

In FALLEN BEAUTY (NAL Trade Paperback; 978-0-451-41890-6; March 4, 2014; $16), Robuck presents vivid new characters while portraying a beautifully eccentric Edna St. Vincent Millay, around whom an electrifying tale unfolds, where the fast pace of the jazz age collides with life in a small, judgmental town.   

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and The Aviator’s Wife, FALLEN BEAUTY is a poignant page-turner comprised of fascinating pieces of history immersed in a beautifully written narrative. Robuck captures the radiance and charisma of Edna St. Vincent Millay, the fragility and power of family loyalty, and the ultimate, all-encompassing passion of love in its many forms.

About the Author:
Erika Robuck has appeared on the Southern Independent Bestseller List for Call Me Zelda and is the critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s Girl.  Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Erika was inspired by the cobblestones and old churches.  She is a contributor to the popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own historical fiction blog called Muse.  For more information please visit www.erikarobuck.com, and Twitter @ErikaRobuck.

Erika Robuck will embark on a national tour in March, meeting with booksellers, bloggers, and readers across the country…

March 7                                             Launch event at BARNES & NOBLE in Annapolis, MD
March 11                                           Luncheon at PAGE & PALETTE in Fairhope, AL (12PM) 
March 12                                                         Reading and book signing featuring friend and NYT Bestselling author, Karen White, at FOXTALE BOOK SHOPPE in Woodstock, GA (6:30PM)
March 13                                                         Ticketed luncheon at FICTION ADDICTION in Greenville, SC (City Range at 12PM)
March 14                                           Reading and book signing at MALAPROPS in Asheville, NC (7PM)
March 15                                           Reading and book signing at PARK ROAD BOOKS in Charlotte, NC (2PM)
March 17                                           Reading and book signing at THE COUNTRY BOOKSHOP in Southern Pines, NC (4:30PM)
March 22                                           A multi-author event featuring Nora Roberts’ Shadow Spell at TURN THE PAGE in Boonsboro, MD (12PM)
                                                           
*For more information on Erika’s tour events, please visit www.ErikaRobuck.com and participating bookstore websites. 

Please be sure to check out the other stops along the FALLEN BEAUTY Blog Tour for more unique review coverage and additional chances to enter to win a giveaway copy of FALLEN BEAUTY!!

February 17                                       A Patchwork of Books
February 18                                       Jenn’s Bookshelves
February 19                                       Great New Books
February 20                                       Chick Lit Plus
February 21                                       Book Dilettante
February 22                                      BookNAround
*Millay's Birthday*                        Entertainment Realm
February 24                                       Laura's Review Bookshelf
February 25                                       Literally Jen
February 26                                       Literate Housewife
February 27                                       Anita Loves Books
February 28                                       Silver's Reviews
March 3                                             Alison's Book Marks
March 4                                             Biblio File
*On-Sale*                                         Sincerely Stacie
March 5                                             Teresa's Reading Corner
March 6                                             Entomology of a Bookworm
March 7                                             My 5 Monkeys


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20. Book Review: Gabriel's Redemption, Sylvain Reynard


Reading Level:Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Format:

Ebook (ARC)

Publisher:

Berkley Trade 12/3/13

Rating:

3


Gabriel and Julianne have been married for six months. He's a tenured professor at Boston University and Julia is Ph.D student at Harvard University. Married life for the both of them is wondrous and difficult at the same time. Gabriel is going through some hard decisions he has to face and Julia is feeling overwhelmed as a full-time student.

When Julia is asked to present a paper at Oxford, she is thrilled, but scared at the same time because her findings for this specific paper contradicts what Gabriel has written about in the past. When he reads the paper, he automatically tells her she's wrong and she can't possibly present the paper.

Stupid mistake #1, Professor Emerson: You never tell your wife she's wrong. 

Stupid mistake #2, Professor Emerson: You don't tell you're overwhelmed wife you want kids sooner rather than later. 

Stupid mistake #3, Professor Emerson: Don't keep things secret from said wife.

A lot of these scenarios were okay, but I felt they tended to go on too long. Gabriel's back and forth on having the vasectomy reversed was annoying. Still hating his father and not wanting anything to do with them, when Julianne wanted a medical history.

I found a lot of the times, that I got pulled out of the story when Christa, Paul, Natalie and Simon were written about. Yes, Reynard was trying to tie up loose ends, but it was more distracting than a comforting tie.

This book was definitely written for the fans who clamored for more of Gabriel and Julianne. And he gave it to them in spades, but honestly. The ending of book 2 was more than enough for me.

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21. Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek of EMPOWER by Jessica Shirvington

I'm so excited to be able to show you this fantastic cover. I had a chance to read this book as a friend in Australia was kind enough to buy and send me a copy! It was everything I wanted it to be, but I also cannot wait for it to be released here in the States because I love the Sourcebooks Fire covers so much. So without much ado, here is the cover and below the jump will be the first chapter of EMPOWER.





chapter one
“But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Robert Frost

My sweater was coated in a layer of mist—-again—-a by--product of life in London. I barely noticed the constant drizzle anymore. It’s not as if the cold bothered me, not when I was the very definition of cold.

What was bothering me was the smell. There is something rank about a meat market at night—-especially when you’re wedged into the eaves wondering what, over the years, has been sprayed about and never cleaned away. I shuddered.

The Smithfield Market was currently in vogue, but a gritty sense of history thickened the air, giving it a density that made me sure this wasn’t the first time the site had been used for wicked intent. And right now, it was hunting hour.

At least I was the hunter.

I watched quietly as the exiles came into the center of the massive terminal--style space, vaguely interested to note that there were six of them, instead of the four I’d expected. No bother, I suppose. I still had the element of surprise on my side.

The past two years had taught me not to let the everyday hiccups get to me. Sure, the additional muscle would hurt, but only in the physical sense, and I could cope with that. Rolling with the punches is necessary when you are a Grigori—-a human--angel hybrid—-a weapon against the ever--increasing numbers of exiled angels on earth. For me even more so, since they gave me such a colorful nickname. I’m the Keshet—-the rainbow. I didn’t ask to be, but I made my choices and I stand by them.

So, there I was. Although I was still trying to figure out exactly what being the rainbow meant, mostly I found that the desire to know conflicted with my continuing need not to think about it at all. One thing I did know was that somehow I could create space with the angels—-an unknown place where we were able to take form and communicate. My angel maker—-whose name I still didn’t know—-said it was a place of new possibilities.

For what, I was not sure.

But I know this is what I am. It is what I will be.

The final two exiles sauntered up to the four already waiting. It used to be impossible for me to be this close to exiles without them going into a frenzy, sensing my presence. But I’d learned many lessons over the past year, the most useful of which had been how to keep my guards up and locked so tight that even exiles couldn’t sense me when I was truly concentrating.

Which—-judging by the thin film of sweat on my forehead—-is now.

The exiles dumped the huge calico sack they had been dragging along the floor and pulled it open, revealing three mutilated bodies to join the two maimed ones already on display.

From my position it was difficult to tell how old the corpses were, and if the smell was able to give a clue, I wouldn’t have known, the stink of death and flesh being an overall theme of the place.

It was no wonder the exiles liked it so much.

Normally, exiles wouldn’t bother with the cleanup—-leaving evidence was of no concern. Normally, the exiles enjoyed the mess and despair they left behind. But not these exiles. These dark exiles were working for someone else. They’d been following a plan, using a hit list, and it was all too well constructed for any one of them to mastermind. Our intel told us they’d been hired. Such behavior would usually be considered beneath them, but apparently this group of exiles had decided the job was thrilling enough to suffer the humiliation of working for the highest bidder—-even if that was a human.

As for the billionaire businessman, well, that’s not my department, but someone will pay him a visit. Right after all the evidence of his wrongdoing—-minus the exile activity—-is handed over to the authorities and his bank accounts are heavily siphoned to pay for the futures of his victims’ families. And our fee, of course.

Which, thanks to certain people, is exorbitant.

Two of the exiles were dressed impeccably: one in a steel--gray suit and sporting villain--typical slicked--back hair; the other wore a slim--collared black suit that hugged his tall figure and set off his of--the--moment tousled, light brown hair. The remaining four were less striking in casual wear, though nonetheless picture perfect. All six looked over the bodies like fishermen comparing the size and quality of their haul. My hand grazed my dagger, the blade that had been given to me after I first embraced my powers and became a Grigori warrior three years ago. I was never without it. I even had a sheath attached to my bed for a quick draw if needed.

I’d learned the hard way—-through the death and suffering of people I loved and, strangely enough, through my own death and suffering—-exiles stop at nothing. Their insanity and misguided missions know no bounds, and they take pleasure in causing great pain and suffering to humankind.

At least tonight I would only face exiles of dark. A couple of years ago, the two opposing sides, light and dark, had called a truce. Of course, I tried not to think back to that time.

I tried constantly.

The discovery of the scripture that could end all Grigori had found its way into my hands. That in itself was part of the reason the Assembly had rejected me. They blamed me for trading with the dark exile, Phoenix. My decision had allowed him to resurrect Lilith—-his mother, the first dark exile—-from the dead, and she had taken control of the Grigori Scripture. But at the time, my choice had been a simple one. Phoenix had Steph, my best friend, and I wasn’t about to take any chances with her life. I’ve never regretted that choice.

Not like so many others I’ve made.

In the end, that made it easier to walk away from a place in the Academy when Josephine decided to change her mind. Of course, that was after I’d given my life, Lincoln’s soul had shattered, and Phoenix had died—-proving that not only was he the son of Lilith, but he was also the human son of the first man, Adam—-all so that I could kill Lilith. And those reasons weren’t even the ones I tried not to think about.

But I can’t go there right now.

I caught myself. I was working and the last thing I could afford to do was acknowledge that I was thinking about him.

The six exiles started to shift the remains of the bodies toward the incinerator, tossing them with supernatural strength and no care. I half expected them to try and mince the meat and load it onto trays for sale tomorrow. I wouldn’t put anything past them.

“Make sure you take the index fingers,” one of the suited exiles instructed. “Mr. George is expecting me to deliver them to him tonight.”

That’s a shame. Though I’m sure Mr. George will receive a knock at his door nonetheless.

“I still don’t understand why we don’t just kill him too,” another said.

“Are you challenging me?” The exile who had spoken first stepped forward.

His questioner mirrored his actions.

Here we go.

“If I must.”

Exiles never back down. Their pride and egotism combined with their unique brand of insanity is just too much to ignore. Angels were not created to take corporeal forms on earth. Though they have existed for eternity, in human bodies, they manifest emotions in ways their innate nature can never process. It makes them unstable. And almost unstoppable.

I wriggled into a better position and waited patiently, knowing that this would work in my favor.
Sure enough, the exile who had spoken out first also struck out first, engaging with the suited exile. It didn’t last long. The suit, clearly the older of the two and a true fighter—-my guess was he had once been either a Domination or a Power—-overpowered his opponent, snapping his neck and making quick work of removing his heart.

We had our methods of ending their immortal existence; they had theirs.

Happy days. I now have one less exile to take care of.

I checked the time and sighed. If I didn’t get this show on the road, I’d lose my window. And fighting alone was always my preference.

The drop to the ground was at least two stories high, but I landed behind the group of exiles lightly, thanks to my angelic enhancements.

Breathing calmly, I let go of the power I was holding tightly within, just enough to lower my shields.
The exiles, who had been preoccupied with their boasting, stiffened instantly and spun around to face the new threat. It was almost comical, the look of surprise on their faces. I guess a Grigori had never snuck up on them before.

Responding quickly, the suited exile stepped forward, shoving two of them to the side, the five of them quickly forming a semicircle around me.

So nice of them to stand in single file.

But the way he studied me—-with trademark exile insanity and undisguised raw desire—-made me think that this one recognized me. It happened from time to time.

I wanted to sit around and chew the fat. Really. I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do with my time than hear about how they intended to rip me limb from limb and how that would make them as great as gods and me the most pathetic of humans. But when you’ve heard it all before and always walked away—-or, at the very least, been carried—-while they were returned for their ultimate judgment, it gets old. So, I cut to the chase.

“You have a choice. Make it or I will make it for you,” I said, knowing that of all Grigori, I alone had the right to put it like that. “Consider wisely,” I reinforced. After all, I could return them like any other Grigori with one of our blades, but if I willed it, I could also strip them of their angelic strengths and leave them human—-a fate exiles considered worse than an eternity in the pits of Hell. As far as I was aware, I was the only Grigori who could do this without requiring the exile in question to first choose such a fate. Which, of course, never happened.

“You brought Lilith to her end,” the suit said, his head tilted to the side, as if confused.

Yeah, that’s right, little ol’ me.

And it only cost me everything that mattered.

I raised my eyebrows. “Time’s almost up,” I said, refraining from closing my eyes briefly as I felt a surge of power within, something that had been happening increasingly. I was getting stronger, and exactly what that meant and how to harness it wasn’t the kind of knowledge I was excited to discover.

I could strip them all, make their choice for them, and be done with it, but I’d only done it twice. Onyx had been my first, and I’d seen the pain it caused him. I didn’t like knowing I was the one who took away his choice. Who was I to do such a thing? The second had been a demonstration, and had resulted in the exile in question meeting a quick death. I can’t say I regretted it—-he’d been one of the exiles so happy to see me strapped to a crucifix and tortured for hours—-but still…

Anyway, tonight was more like training, and I’d been taught to be thorough. So, when the suit threw the first exile at me—-knowing he’d be nothing more than a momentary distraction while I took him down and he lined up the next one—-I got to work.

I braced, grabbing my dagger and moving into position. By the time the exile came within range, my dagger had sliced through his heart and he was no longer there. Simply gone. Where did their physical forms go? Beats me.

I was already spinning by the time the second one was sent flying through the air toward me. My foot stopped his momentum and threw him back. I was on him in an instant, my dagger going straight to his heart. It didn’t need to be the heart to return them, just a killing blow inflicted by a Grigori weapon. You could slice into exiles all day long with your garden--variety knife or shoot them with a gun, but neither option worked. I’d never seen a Grigori manage to rip out an exile’s heart barehanded, and even though the trick worked for exiles taking out other exiles, something told me that it did not alter our rules. Permanent results for Grigori over exiles only came via the blades of angels.

Or my blood.

The third exile went much the same way, and soon enough I was left being circled by the two suits. To my surprise, they actually worked together—-exiles aren’t good at that—-boxing me into a corner. The brown--haired exile in the black suit moved in on me when the other one feigned a move to my right. I took a closed fist across the face and a foot to the stomach.

I heard a crack—-broken rib—-but I didn’t register the pain. That kind of pain was barely a tickle compared to the agony I carried inside, every moment of every day.

My pause gave the other exile the chance to take a swing. His foot collided with my hand so hard that my dagger went flying across the room. I kept my eyes on my attackers but my ear on my weapon, listening to the reverberations as it slid along the concrete floor and eventually hit the far wall with a clang.

The exiles smiled.

I sighed.

Then I leapt into the air, gaining enough height to grip the brown--haired exile’s throat between my knees. Twisting my body as I fell through the air, I dragged the exile down with me, his neck breaking with a loud crunch.

It wouldn’t keep him down for good, but a broken neck buys time.

The exile in the gray suit grabbed me roughly from behind and threw me into the wall.
I groaned as I slid down the metal piping my back had hit. It was the opposite wall to my dagger.

Damn it.

It wasn’t an ideal situation. And I wasn’t fool enough to delude myself into thinking I could make it to my dagger. I was regretting my decision not to wear any other weapons tonight, but my dagger was the only weapon that, when sheathed, was invisible to human eyes.

Think, Vi.

I’d come down behind a wall of old crates. I was considering how I could use them to my advantage when I spotted a piece of the slim metal piping I’d broken in my fall. It lay by my foot.

I could hear the exiles moving toward me. They were cackling.

“We should take her body with us to the tournament tonight,” one said.

The other one laughed. “That would definitely put dark in the lead.”

“And everyone would know that we were the ones who killed her.”

Can anyone say “premature victory”?

Without stopping to think, I pulled off the bracelet from my left wrist, using the specially designed clasp to cut open the flesh around my silver marking, currently swirling in the presence of exiles, and let it spill onto the end of the metal bar.

It took just a few seconds, and as soon as I palmed the pipe, the exiles started to throw the crates aside then came into view, their smiles wide with anticipation.

I stood. I didn’t return their smiles. I didn’t bother to do anything other than what needed to be done.
I lunged, raising my elbow into the face of the black--haired exile as I spun, the metal pipe striking his companion through the heart. He was gone. I turned back to the first exile and, hoping that there was still enough of my blood on the pipe to do the trick and using my supernatural speed for all it was worth, I jammed the pipe straight into his neck.

His face wore an expression of pure surprise.

I’d seen that look before.

I sighed and my shoulders slumped forward, unfulfilled. This was my job, one that I would do for as long as I existed, which could be a significantly long time. But two years ago, I’d accepted that there was no longer any satisfaction to be had in my world.

No fairytales.

Only the cold.

Turning toward where I thought my dagger had landed, my surroundings suddenly changed.
I was no longer seeing the warehouse. There were flashes of white, moving fast, pounding hooves. Horses. Silver streaked through the air like a dance. Swords. Slashes of red painted the sky. Something sharp and deadly ripping through flesh—-wet and gruesome. Claws. Thousands and thousands of beings as far as I could see fought ruthlessly, with no sign of tiring. In the center, two warriors battled beneath a blinding light. I could not make out their faces.

I blinked hard.

The image was gone, and in its place Gray stood against the wall of Lincoln’s warehouse, casually flipping my dagger in the air. “Would you like me to applaud?” he asked.

Leaning against a metal support pole, he had that midtwenties look I’d come to associate with the older Grigori—-though I had no idea how old he really was—-and was dressed in his usual black jeans, black T--shirt, and black leather jacket. Black really was the only color worth investing in—-blood stains everything else. He sported about a week’s worth of growth on his face, though his head was shaved, the scars that ran over the top of his skull telling of a history both terrible and secret. Grigori did not generally scar, so I knew that whatever had caused these had occurred before Gray had turned seventeen.

I swallowed over the lump in my throat and glanced around as I composed myself. The whole…hallucination…had lasted only a couple of seconds. I clenched my jaw.

Christ. It was nothing. I’m just imagining things.

I snapped my bracelet back in place over my marking and shot him a dry look. “Should I be charging a spectator fee?”

My voice sounded normal but my ears felt like they were still ringing with the echoes of battle.

“Not if the show is going to be over so fast, princess.”

I glared at him for persisting with the stupid nickname. “You know, you could’ve stepped in and given me a hand.”

“Sure,” he said with a solemn nod. “And you could’ve waited until the meet time we’d all agreed on too.”

I looked away briefly. “So, why are you here early?” I asked, hoping to divert the conversation.

Gray tilted his head. “Because I know you.”

I shrugged off the veiled accusation, even though it was true. To a degree.

“It was easier this way.”

He threw my dagger into the air, and I caught it by the hilt and slipped it back into its sheath.

“Well you can explain that to the others, since they just arrived.”



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22. A Note from Sylvain Reynard

Dear Everyone,

Back in September, I wrote a post in which I mentioned my next novel. I'm pleased to be able to give you more information now.

My next novel is the first in a new series, and it will be entitled The Raven. With this novel, I'm asking you to pack your bags and travel with me to the city of Florence. The Gabriel Series showed you the city during the day. This time, I'll show you Florence's underworld, which is ruled by creatures of the night …

Here's the formal announcement:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery…

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her …

Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets …

As I mentioned in my September post, readers of Gabriel's Redemption will be able to read an excerpt from The Raven at the end of both the paperback and e-book editions.

But what I didn't mention was that one of the characters of The Raven appears in Gabriel's Redemption. Can you identify him or her? I welcome your guesses in the comments below and on social media.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there's a connection between The Gabriel Series and my new series - a connection that is more than simply me, or the city of Florence, or the Uffizi Gallery.. If you've read the cover copy above carefully, probably you're beginning to guess the answer. But I'll be explicit and state that we won't be saying goodbye to the Professor and Julianne at the end of Gabriel's Redemption. Look for them to have cameo appearances in The Raven as well ...

While I don't have a release date for The Raven yet, I hope to have one soon. This novel marks my transition from a contemporary love story to a paranormal one. I hope you'll join me on this journey and that if you have friends and family who enjoy paranormal novels, you'll help me share the news with them.

As we approach the December 3rd release date of Gabriel's Redemption in North America, my American publisher has listed a giveaway of the novel on Goodreads. US entrants can enter the contest here..

And if you'd like to read a new excerpt from Gabriel's Redemption and enter another contest, you can do so here here at Romance Times.

Finally, I want to wish everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving this week a very happy holiday. I have much to be thankful for and in particular, I'm thankful for you, my readers.

All the best and thank you for your continued support,

SR

www.sylvainreynard.com

Note also posted on Sylvain's blog

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23. Special Deals from Simon & Schuster!!!

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24. Blogging is hard...

Sometimes I really feel like giving up.
As I read and write and try to take care of a family, I find myself wondering if I can continue to do this.

I think others have felt this way with various things in their life. I refuse to be a quitter. I do not want NO to be the catch phrase that pertains to me.

I love to read and talk about books. I love to write and talk to people about my writing. I love doing giveaways to get books into the hands of the people who are just like me. I love hearing thoughts on books that are popular. I love hearing why you might not have liked a certain book that is popular.

We're all entitled to not like things as well as love things.

Blogging is hard because you don't want to upset people's feelings when they've given you their work to read and review. Being negative is all part of the game. We don't blog to bash people. We blog to discuss books and get feedback or start a conversation.

Like I said Blogging is hard. It's a commitment that we don't always have time to take care of, but it doesn't mean we're not invested.

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25. Cover Reveal: Boomerang, Noelle August.


I love this cover! and I can't wait to read this book come July!

On-sale 7/15/14; ISBN: 9780062331069;William Morrow Paperbacks; Pages: 304; $13.99

Plus, look at who is Noelle August!

Lorin Oberweger and Veronica Rossi writing as Noelle August's BOOMERANG, pitched as THE HANGOVER meets THE INTERNSHIP, set in an online dating service that aims to be Match.com for millennials on the rebound.

Don't know about you, but this is right up my alley for this summer!















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