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1. Book review- A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke

Title: A Kiss In The Dark
 Author: Cat Clarke
Series:  N/A
Published:  3 April 2014 by Quercus
Length: 384 pages
Warnings: brings up sexual assault

Source: publisher
Other info: Cat has written Entangled, Torn, and Undone which I read and reviewed. She also wrote Falling, a shorter story, which I read and enjoyed.
Summary : When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant. Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy – everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend. Alex can’t help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive… But one of them is hiding a secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives.
Graph: This is a new feature I am trialling which I will use when my opinion of things or levels of devices like scares, tension, interest, fun, laughs (anything really) fluctuate  throughout a  book.  Tell me what you think of it and if I should do more.
Review: Alex gets to know Kate via the internet. Alex meets Kate at a concert. They start going out. They're perfect for each other. Except Alex is a girl (I don’t feel bad for telling you that because we learn this within the first 15 pages). And Kate doesn't know.
Cat Clarke is one of the authors whose name guarantees I'll read a thing. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but it was totally different to anything I may have wanted to expect.
Cat Clarke always manages to write perfectly real characters, and those in A Kiss in the Dark are no exception. they interact and react well, and all  the  minute of emotions that Alex and Kate feel about being in love is valid and accurate.
I am in love with all characters in the Before. Alex slightly less than Kate because while I see why she would do that, it's quite a big thing to not be open about, and I prefer my romantic couples to not have secrets this big. I didn't like Kate in the After. I get it, finding out your boyfriend is a girl is quite big and she has the right to be upset with Alex for keeping such a big secret. But I really dislike people who do what she did. she redeems herself in the closing pages, but still. My favourite character was Jamie  Alex's brother. He's supportive, a bit funny, and loyal. I found Astrid a little annoying.
The best thing in this was the tension, especially in the first half. From the moment Alex chooses not to tell Kate she's a girl, and they go out, as the romance builds, which I think is one of the most adorable things ever despite my general wariness of romance when they’re keeping such huge secrets from each other, you’re just thinking ahead to what's going  to happen when she finds out; so every kiss and every smile they share, is slightly tainted by the fact you just know it’s going to broken and you just have to keep reading to see how it goes. and  then ohmigosh Cat puts in 14 words that ramp up the tension so much and then it all happens and ugh perfectness. The day I read this, I highly disliked school. It stopped me reading this.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a to a truly unputdownable book.


0 Comments on Book review- A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke as of 4/14/2014 4:13:00 AM
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2. Kennedy Ryan, Author of When You Are Mine on Autism Awareness Month and Giveaway

 

A Message From Kennedy Ryan

April is Autism Awareness month. That might not even register on some people’s radars, but my family has lived with Autism for the last 11 years, since my son was diagnosed. My book WHEN YOU ARE MINE releases June 17 and provides a unique opportunity for me to combine my passion for writing and Autism advocacy. I’m donating 25% of my royalties from this book to resourcing families living with Autism.

Learn more about Autism and the 1 in 68 children diagnosed from my charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

Celebrate all the gladiators out there – kids, adults, families, siblings – living with Autism by entering the Autism Awareness Giveaway! Great cause! Great prizes!

Thank you!

Kennedy Ryan

Twitter Facebook Website

Amazon B&N Goodreads

BLURB:

Forever is a heartbeat away . . .
Kerris Moreton knows how to make things work. Bounced from foster home to foster home as a kid, she adapted; when opportunity arose, she thrived. Now, about to open her own business and accept a marriage proposal, Kerris is ready to build the life she’s always wanted. The only thing missing? A passionate connection with her would-be fiancé, Cam. Kerris wants to believe that sparks are overrated-until Walsh Bennett lights her up like the Fourth of July.
. . . but what about love?
As one of the East Coast’s most eligible bachelors, Walsh enjoys financial independence, fulfilling work with his family’s nonprofit, and plenty of female attention. But lately he’s been distracted by the one woman he can’t have. Lovely to look at and even sweeter to know, Kerris is the soul mate Walsh never thought he would find. The problem is, his best friend found her first . . .

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3. Interview with Rebecca Zanetti, Author of Rising Assets and Giveaway!

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Rebecca! 

[Rebecca Zanetti] Thank you so much to the Manga Maniac Café crew for having me over to celebrate the release of RISING ASSETS!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rebecca Zanetti] Crazy, fun, loyal, analytical author

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Rising Assets?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Absolutely! RISING ASSETS is a best friends to lovers story set in a small Montana town where everybody not only knows everyone else’s business but feels just fine getting involved in private matters. In fact, there are no private matters. So, when Colton Freeze starts to fall for his best friend, Melanie Jacoby, the town creates a bet on when they’ll actually get together. This is the third book in the series. In the first two books, Colton’s older brothers find their own sexy happily ever afters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Rebecca Zanetti] My favorite scenes are often the first kiss of the couple, and here it is:

His mouth was on hers before she finished saying his name. Heat and power slammed from the kiss, and her mind swam.

Fire lashed through her so quickly her knees weakened. Her nipples scraped his chest, and lava consumed her. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she fell into the storm created by a man much more dangerous than she’d known.

She kissed him back, her body alive, her mind shutting down.

There was nothing but the whirlwind of impossible need cascading around them, through her, into her, beyond her.

The kiss was hard, angry, and more passionate than she could’ve dreamed.

Many times, they’d come close to kissing, but one of them had always backed away. With a grin, or a joke, they’d escaped ever taking the chance. The one thing Melanie knew for sure was if Colton ever kissed her, if he ever showed her that side of him, there’d be no turning back. Ever.

As he released her mouth to pin her with a dark gaze, there was no question he knew it, too.

Determination filtered through his eyes, and his jaw firmed. Something new and intriguing fluttered alive in her abdomen. Satisfaction lifted his lips as her eyes widened.

Holy crap. Colton Freeze didn’t want to turn back.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Rebecca Zanetti] This is such a great question! Let’s see…I guess it was the conflict between the couple. I mean, I knew they should be together, the reader will know…so why aren’t they together? I’ve always been a jump first and think later type of gal, and these characters had to be different than me, because they needed to think before leaping. I guess that was a little tough to write because I would’ve jumped. But with their backgrounds, they stayed true to their personalities. Although if you ask me, love always wins.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Hmmm. I try to never leave home without a bottle of water. For some reason, when I’m in the car, I manage to get those sixty ounces in that we should drink every day. Yep. Water.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Rebecca Zanetti] My Maverick Montana large coffee cup that is now empty of tea

A cup full of Paper Mate colorful pens – I love these!

A print copy of Gina Maxwell’s Rules of Engagement that she was kind enough to send to me yesterday

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Kate Middleton. ? I would love to be that poised for an entire day, and I’d truly enjoy being able to play with the palace’s jewels and wear a real tiara.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Oh man, this is a fun question! I’d want the power to heal with my touch, and I’d go around and heal everybody I know of any ailments or illnesses they may have right now. And since it’s my power for a week, the healing would take effect, and those people would be healed forever.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Rebecca Zanetti] I just finished Robin Covington’s Sex and the Single Vamp, and it was awesome. Before that, I read Jill Shalvis’ Rumor Has It, and I loved it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Rebecca Zanetti] I love when readers contact me. Here are a couple of links:

Website: http://www.rebeccazanetti.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaZanetti.Author.FanPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaZanetti

Thank you again for inviting me over to have some fun!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Rising Assets by: Rebecca Zanetti

Synopsis: Friends with benefits was never the plan…

Melanie Jacobs is in trouble. With three jobs—including running her ranch—and dwindling funds, she’s exhausted. Not to mention desperately trying to hide a secret. Unfortunately, her best friend Colton Freeze knows all too well that’s something is going on, and he won’t give up until he knows exactly what he needs to fix.

Then Colton learns the truth—that Melanie’s future happiness rests in the fickle hands of fate, and her chances for having a family are shrinking with every passing day. Her only comfort is Colton, but when a heated argument between them turns into an even hotter kiss, the boundaries of their friendship are erased, leaving only a scorching-hot hunger for more.

Every kiss—every touch—is a stolen pleasure. But will their new friends-with-sexy-benefits arrangement bring them closer together, or destroy everything they once shared?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18211781-rising-assets

Author Bio: USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and sexy contemporary romances.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day–or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

Tagline: Friends with benefits was never the plan

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Giveaway Info: $25 Amazon GC

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4. Book Review- Trouble by Non Pratt

Title:  Trouble
 Author:  Non Pratt
Series:  N/A
Published:  6 March 2014 by Walker
Length:364 pages
Source: publisher
Other info: this is Non’s debut novel.
Summary : A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.
Review: Hannah is fifteen and pregnant. And she won't tell anyone who the father is. Aaron is the new boy at school whose father is a teacher. Aaron offers to pretend to be the father. Hannah agrees. Trouble ensues.
I read this because everyone was saying how good it is. I am very glad I followed everyone's advice.
I would very much like to congratulate the cover designers. It's eyecatching, instantly tells you what  Trouble is about, and doesn't make it seem off-putting at all.
Hannah is very frank throughout her narration, while Aaron is a bit more secretive. I liked the contrast between the two styles, and I think Non did very well at differentiating the two. She also gets teenage thought processes, priorities and ideas really well.
I loved the characters so much. Neville, the old man that Aaron visits. especially-he doesn't seem very nice to start with, but as you learn more about him, you feel emotionally connected to him. All the characters are real, likable, and stick with you. Watching Aaron and Hannah  develop is really nice, and the diverse supporting characters make a great cast.
When we found out who the father is, I was just “Woah. Yeah, I can see why you'd want to keep that hidden. This makes the story infinitely more interesting.” The plot comes along really well, and I loved reading it.
I find it odd that the teachers don't have much involvement, what with Hannah being fifteen and pregnant at school. Jim (YaYeahYeah)said  it's because Non doesn't want to come across as judgy, which I totally get and totally love the lack of preachy message, but it just took away a little bit of realism from an otherwise really believable story-I'm fairly sure that if anyone at my school got pregnant, everyone would be freaking out. It's also weird reading this when I did- I am in the year that will be coming up to GCSEs. It's scary to read this. Not bad scary, but good.
I loved reading all the sideplots other than the main one about teenage pregnancy, which, instead of just supporting it, were each equally good.


Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a wonderfully real contemporary.


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5. Spotlight and Giveaway-White Collar Cowboy by Parker Kincade

White Collar Cowboy

A Shadow Maverick Ranch Novella

By Parker Kincade

Publication Date: March 4, 2013

Publisher: Parker Kincade

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

81 Pages

Retail: $2.99

 

Book Description

Gavin Mathis is ready to settle down. He’s quit his job and come home to Shadow Maverick Ranch to do just that. Too bad his decision caused his beautiful former colleague to lose her job.

Lauren Delgado is a no-nonsense businesswoman. She’s had a crush on Gavin for years, but has a strict “hand-off” policy with the men she works with. When her life takes an unexpected turn, there’s nothing to stop her from accepting his invitation to Galveston Island, where the policy is definitely hands-on.

Praise for White Collar Cowboy:

“Parker Kincade knows how to write romance HOT! You will be left breathless and begging for more.” – Mandy Harbin, National Bestselling Author

“Parker Kincade has done it again with her first novella in the Shadow Maverick Ranch series. White Collar Cowboy is a down-to-earth, sexy romance about real people with real world problems who find their happy-ever-after together.  Can’t wait for the rest of the Mathis siblings’ stories.” – Monette Michaels, author of the Security Specialists International series.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Collar-Cowboy-Shadow-Maverick-Novella-ebook/dp/B00IRFF4BU/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/white-collar-cowboy-parker-kincade/1118856297

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-whitecollarcowboy-1441171-149.html

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/white-collar-cowboy

Excerpt

Gavin reached the shore and dragged his tired limbs from the water. He snatched up his clothes and walked, naked and unconcerned, up to the house. His legs protested as he climbed the stairs to the porch. Maybe he had overdone it a little, but he resisted falling into one of the deck chairs, instead dropping his stuff outside the door as he slid it open. A quick shower to rinse the Gulf from his skin, maybe a beer or two, and he was done.

As he breeched the threshold, a movement to the left caught his attention and he turned, completely gobsmacked by what he found.

His weakened limbs found the renewed strength to hold him in place, standing completely still so as not to shatter the vision before him.

She was here. She was actually here.

Gavin watched in utter fascination as Lauren slipped the shirt from her shoulders. Inch by gorgeous inch, she unknowingly revealed her back to him. The creamy skin made his mouth water. His body tensed and he yearned to reach out, to touch, to tease, to pleasure.

Obviously, she thought she was alone. He should make his presence known. Shouldn’t stand here and watch as she unhooked her bra. And definitely shouldn’t watch as she … sweet mercy, was she caressing her—fuck.

A flash of lust burned through him. Gavin licked his lips, his tongue suddenly desperate for something to do. His gaze focused on the movement of her arms as she cupped her breasts. He’d give anything to know what, who she was thinking about right now. He wanted it to be him, hoped it was him. It was wrong, so wrong, yet he remained still, transfixed, waiting to see what she did next.

A tiny sound emerged from her throat, and his cock hardened in response. Her arms dropped. So did his gaze. The shimmering blue panties she wore didn’t quite cover her butt cheeks and he groaned as she bent to pick up what appeared to be a bikini top. Not panties then. Jesus, she was changing into a bathing suit. Not performing some kind of erotic strip tease.

Lauren spun, slapping her palms to her breasts. Not fast enough to keep him from seeing her tawny nipples, both drawn up to tight little buds.

Her gaze drifted over him, lingering over his chest before heading lower. Her eyes widened as she took in the rest of him. “W-what are you doing here?”

He made no attempt to cover himself. “It’s my house.” Simple, to the point. Truth. And all he was capable of at the moment.

Her fingers tightened, her breasts threatening to spill from the confines of her small, delicate hands. Hands he’d like to replace with his own.

“That’s not what I meant. You said you were leaving tonight.”

He nodded slowly. “Yes, and I did. You never asked me where I was going.”

“So, you asked me to come, but thought I wouldn’t if I knew you’d be here?”

He could practically hear the gears turning in her head. And he appreciated the fact she was pleased with what she saw, but she was making coherent thought damn near impossible.

“Staring at it like that is only going to make it worse, sweetheart,” he said gently.

Her eyes snapped up, a light blush staining her cheeks. “Like what?”

“Like it’s candy.” She was killing him. He couldn’t remember ever being so hard. The stubborn set of her chin, the darkening of her eyes, everything about her intrigued him, called to him.

“I need a shower.” The saltwater from his swim was already starting to make his skin itch, and he needed to get the hell away before he tossed her to the couch and fucked her blind.

He looked her up and down again, taking full advantage of his first opportunity to see her body, the curves that had tempted him for so long. She was even more beautiful than he’d imagined. Lean, muscular legs, rounded hips and an ass he’d like to sink his hands into. Breasts too big for her smaller hands, but perfect for his.

“Unless you’d like to join me, I’d suggest you put on something more substantial.” He glanced pointedly the apex of her legs. “Because knowing I’m one scrap of material from having you naked is driving me crazy.” As if she hadn’t seen the rock-hard evidence of his arousal already.

Slowly, her lips curled upward. “Well, I seem to remember you telling me I could help myself to anything I wanted.” She dropped her hands, baring her nipples for his view. “So, yes, Gavin. I think a shower sounds perfect.”

Author Bio and Links

Parker Kincade is the award-winning erotic romance author of The Martin Family Series. Her first novel, One Night Stand, won the 2013 Reader’s Crown Award for Best First Book, the category of Best Erotic Romance in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Golden Claddagh contest and was named finalist in the Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink Stroke of Midnight contest.

Parker lives in the southern United States with her husband, children and beloved boxer sidekick. She loves reading, playing golf, spending time with her family and friends, ice cream from the ice cream truck, taking her dog to the park and watching old musicals.

Website: http://www.parkerkincade.com

Blog: http://www.parkerkincade.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/parkerkincade

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/parkerkincade

Group Blog: http://www.lovelustandlaptops.wordpress.com

TOUR GIVEAWAY :

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6. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA by Kimberly McCreight Print Length: 400 pages Publisher: Harper (April 2, 2013) Buy the book: Amazon In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been

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7. Guest Post–Stacey Kennedy, Author of Bared: Club Sin and Giveaway!

 

Thank you so much to the Manga Maniac Café for letting me stop by for a visit. First, a little bit about me: I’m Stacey Kennedy, USA Today Bestselling Author of the CLUB SIN series. I’m a lover of kisses. HBO/Syfy junkie. And I’m obsessed with things that go bump in the night and naughty stories!

In my newest release, BARED: CLUB SIN, the book takes us into an exclusive BDSM dungeon. But we also get a deep look into the lives of people living a Dominant/submissive lifestyle. It’s an emotional ride as we experience their journey of living out their hottest fantasies, sometimes in the dungeon and sometimes out of it.

Sexy, right?

In the excerpt below, we begin to understand why the heroine from BARED, Cora Adams, joined her first BDSM club, and what she gets out of the lifestyle. The CLUB SIN books are about love, respect, trust, and, of course, sexy times, too. But they really are about characters accepting their deepest desires.

Right to the heart of it, CLUB SIN is about finding a happily ever after and being content in life—with just the right amount of kinkiness in there, too.

Thanks for spending time with me today. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

~Stacey

RT Book Reviews had this to say about BARED:

“In her second CLUB SIN novel, Kennedy revels in titillating details and sensual power play of the D/s lifestyle, but also uses these experiences to probe the hearts of her tortured, emotional and complex characters, whose chemistry is powerful and captivating. Their heady encounters are scorching, but also launch each character’s evolution, offering solace and release from crippling loss and loneliness. The consistency of this story, the character’s commitment to their lifestyle and their dedication to each other make this cohesive and well-realized on every level.”

Available from: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/236825/bared-by-stacey-kennedy

~*~

About the Book:

In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Stacey Kennedy returns to Club Sin with another wicked and wild tale of submission, seduction, and love.

At Las Vegas’s exclusive Club Sin, Aidan Knight is the Master, unleashing the erotic yearnings of his submissive lovers. But his dominant façade conceals a devastating loss—something he instantly recognizes in his personally trained submissive Cora Adams. Sworn to unearth her secrets, Aidan uses his seductive skills to ignite her wildest desires until Cora yields to the pleasure she can find only with him.

Cora came to the BDSM club to act out her sub-and-dom fantasies without ever revealing the heartbreak that haunts her. But Aidan’s masterful touch is bringing her closer to the edge . . . and deeper into a world of control and surrender. He refuses to allow her to submit to any other man—nor does she want to. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing. For as they give in to passion, they must lay bare their souls for a love that could heal—and free—them both.

Bared is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

~*~

Exclusive excerpt from BARED:

Hours flew by like minutes, and the conversation hadn’t dulled. In fact, considering how strained things had been at the beginning, Cora could’ve listened to Aidan talk about his childhood to college to his job all night.

At some point, the clouds settled in, darkening the sky. She stared at the fire burning brightly, sending orange flicks into the air. As a comfortable silence fell between them, Cora turned to the small beige-colored tent. Her heart fluttered and her palms grew sweaty. Really, a tent shouldn’t make anyone so nervous, but there was more to that tent that troubled her.

One tent. One giant sleeping bag for two. Daunting.

Cora’s heart tripped at the idea of sleeping next to Aidan. She felt as if she was sixteen years old and at the summer camp, the place she experienced her first kiss with a boy. She hadn’t slept in the same bed with a man since Porter; dungeon play didn’t involve sleepovers.

Is this really happening . . .

It seemed both exciting and incredibly dangerous for her.

“Was Porter your only boyfriend?”

She gulped, turning to Aidan. “My first Dom boyfriend, not my first boyfriend.”

“Tell me about the others.” Aidan smiled.

His shadowy gaze made her hyperaware of his every move. The warmth in the depths of his eyes lightened her chest. You look good when you’re not lost within yourself. But she couldn’t allow herself to get too hopeful—she’d been let down too many times.

Whatever his intent tonight, she had to keep believing his actions came from being her Dom and wanting to help her, not to get to know her better. And certainly not to let their love grow. She couldn’t handle being wrong again. “Just young-love type stuff, boyfriends through high school and college. Nothing too serious.”

He hesitated, regarding her with a tilt to his head. “When did you discover you were submissive?”

“It was a fluke.” The fire crackled, drawing Cora’s attention to the hot embers. “For an assignment in college, we needed to analyze a person and explain reasons for their actions.”

“You researched a submissive?”

His soft voice filled with interest, and a tone she’d never heard before kept her attention on the fire. “Nope, a sexual sadist.” She scrunched her nose. “In fact, he was a serial killer.”

“Please tell me how researching that led you to living the lifestyle.”

She glanced to him with a smile. “I know how morbid it sounds. A person researching that should run away, not willingly enter into it.”

A wrinkle marred his forehead. “My thoughts exactly.”

“Well . . .” She ran her hands over the soft blanket beneath her. “I went to Chains for research. I thought if I learned how it all worked, then it would be easier for me to understand the mind of a sexual sadist.”

One eyebrow arched. “Did it?”

She recalled that eye-opening experience. Lord, what she’d learned through that assignment had both changed her life and made her aware of her limits. “Yeah, and what I saw I didn’t like.”

“You’re not a masochist,” Aidan agreed.

“Yep, I figured that out pretty quick.” She remembered the iciness in her veins when she watched knife play. While she understood why some people enjoyed it, and she respected their right to do it, edge play never interested her. “From my experience at Chains and through all the research, I learned the difference between safe, sane, and consensual and abuse.” At his unfamiliar stillness to observe her, she looked to the fire. “By the time I finished the report, an interest grew to experience the safe, sane, and consensual.”

“You liked the kink?”

Chuckling, she turned to him, gazing over the shadows on the contours of his face. “I loved the kink.”

His body tilted toward her, and he paused to examine her. “How did wanting to experience kink move into realizing that you were submissive?”

Cora became trapped under his stare. He’d never been so attentive. She couldn’t restrain her smile. Who knew Aidan enjoyed learning about her life? She mulled over his question, recalling the moment she made the choice to accept a power exchange, instead of playing with kink in the bedroom. To give up her choices and fall into a Dom’s command had been a progression. “It happened with Porter.”

“What happened?”

“When I first got into the lifestyle it all unnerved me,” Cora admitted, glancing down to her hands resting loosely in her lap. “I guess I looked a little like Presley did when she first joined the club, wide-eyed and scared shitless.”

He chuckled. “I would’ve liked to have seen you that way.”

She laughed with him. “Oh, I’m sure it was amusing for all.” Her smile faded and she shrugged. “But with Porter, he built this level of trust between us that I never knew possible. He made me feel . . .”

“Safe?” Aidan offered.

“Exactly.” Lord, she had never known trust like that, where she depended on a man who held her like glass, always careful not to let her break. “He never asked me to give up control. At first we played in scenes in a fun way, staying comfortable within the limits I set out, which, let me tell you, were a lot.”

“Pretty normal for a newbie.”

She agreed with a nod. “I started watching other scenes in the club, and saw where Doms were taking their subs. Where I could see them mentally screaming to stop, but because they allowed someone else the control, they stayed quiet.” Her heart swelled with the happy memories. “And I saw where that took them. How they looked after the scene, with that glow of satisfaction.”

“You wanted that?”

She raised her brows. “Who wouldn’t want that?”

He chuckled.

She smiled, too, and added, “The relationship I built with Porter allowed me to let my guard down. And that helped me realize that giving someone that kind of control didn’t mean I lost myself; rather, it meant I found something more, something deeper emotionally.”

Aidan gave her a grin that encouraged her to go on. “What did you find?”

She focused on his mouth and his honest smile. “It fulfilled me in a way I didn’t expect.” The response on his face made her hesitate, and then she looked to the fire. She loved when he looked at her that way. “I’ve always been driven, and it gave me peace to have someone else take care of me. That whenever I stepped foot into the club, I could let it all go.”

He brushed a finger over her hand, bringing her attention to him. She continued, “Most of all, I loved how my gift of submission meant more than a sexual act. The feeling of being appreciated . . . it made things better for me.”

“You know you deserve that, Cora,” he said with an emotion-rich voice. “You deserve to feel all those things.”

“I know.” That had never been a question in her mind. How could any woman not feel incredible while with a man who paid attention to her every move? She glanced down to his hand over hers and she flipped her hand over, giving his fingers a squeeze. “Even if I don’t love Porter that way, I’ll be forever grateful to him. I wouldn’t be the submissive I am today without the trust he built in me.”

“Look at me, Cora.” Her gaze cut to him when his fingers tightened around hers, and he added, “Porter allowed you to be who you are and opened your life to new possibilities. But you became that person by choice and should own that. Don’t forget about the strong woman you really are.”

Her eyes became teary, and she yanked her hand from his. Stop that, Cora! With a harsh breath, she controlled the flare of heady emotion. “Don’t worry, I’m still the same person.” She winked, forcing a smirk. “Maybe just a little wiser.”

~*~

About Stacey Kennedy:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Stacey Kennedy is an urban fantasy lover at heart, but she also enjoys losing herself in dark and sensual worlds. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who gave her a happily-ever-after. Together, they have two small children who can always make her smile, and who will never be allowed to read Mommy’s books. If she’s not plugging away at a new story, you’ll find her camping, curling up with the latest flick, or obsessing over Supernatural, True Blood, Lost Girl, and Sons of Anarchy.

Website – http://www.staceykennedy.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorstaceykennedy

Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Stacey_Kennedy

Loveswept websitehttp://www.readloveswept.com

Don’t forget to check out the other books in Stacey’s Club Sin series!

Claimed

A novel of erotic discovery and forbidden desire that goes beyond Fifty Shades of Grey.

Presley Flynn is ripe to experience her secret fantasies . . . and Dmitri Pratt wants nothing more than to fulfill them. Once inside the elite Club Sin in Las Vegas, Presley is nervous but excited–and determined to surrender to her every desire. Dmitri is her Master, and his touch is like fire. With each careful, calculated caress, he unleashes her wildest inhibitions, giving her unimagined pleasure.

Presley is different than the other submissives Dmitri has mastered. The BDSM lifestyle is new to her, and so are the games they play at Club Sin. From the start, Presley stirs emotions in Dmitri far beyond the raw purity between a dom and the perfect sub. For the ecstasy they share goes beyond the dungeon, igniting a passion that claims the very depths of the heart.

Claimed is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

Bared – in stores July 2014

Readers of Fifty Shades of Grey are sure to love Desired, USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy’s latest seductive, electrifying novel of Club Sin, where fantasy becomes reality.

Kyler Morgan, Master at the legendary Club Sin in Las Vegas, knows how to give women what they want—too well. He hasn’t had a real challenge in a long time. Then Ella Snow enters his life. Beautiful, inhibited, and innocent in the ways of submission and domination, Ella is the new blood he’s been lusting after. Soon, the thrill of training her to embrace his world brings forth desires Kyler cannot control.

After ending an abusive relationship, Ella makes a promise to herself to start living life to the fullest. It’s one of the reasons she seeks out Club Sin. Here, Kyler’s every touch is a lesson in liberation, stirring passions that have no bounds. But as she falls under Kyler’s command, Ella discovers that some secrets are so dark they must come to light. Submission alone may not be enough to save her, leaving her Master with only one question: How can he help Ella heal while unlocking the deep pleasures she craves?

Desired is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

Giveaway!

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8. Monday Mishmash 3/31/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Family Expo  I'll be at the Family Expo on Sunday the 6th from noon to 3pm talking about writing and displaying my books. The Expo is held at East Stroudsburg High School South if you're in the area.
  2. Edits  I'm expecting edits this week for Perfect For You, my upcoming Ashelyn Drake YA contemporary romance. I'm excited!
  3. Author Events  April is a busy month for me. I have three author events scheduled.
  4. Reading  I'm reading Insurgent right now. I loved Divergent, but I'm not as in love Insurgent just yet. I'm enjoying it, but not quite as much as book one.
  5. Need To Read  Tomorrow is the first Need To Read post on YA Bound. Need To Read is a new meme, posted on the first Tuesday of each month, that highlights books releasing that month. These are the books we've waited for and now we can read them. Feel free to grab the button and post your Need To Read books.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


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9. Guest Post by Scarlet Wilson, Author of Hollywood Temptation and Giveaway

Scarlet Wilson dropped by this morning to share the Top 5 requirements when hiring a receptionist. Colt Travers obviously disregarded each and every one of them!

 

Top 5 requirements when hiring a receptionist from Colt Travers

What they should be:

  1. Cute enough appearance for a plastic surgery clinic

  2. Pleasant telephone manner

  3. The ability to schmooze any demanding D list celebrity

  4. The ability to seek crazy items out of thin air for same D list celebrity

  5. Clerical and admin skills – if at all possible.

What he actually employed:

  1. Secretary with no underwear

  2. Secretary with no credible past experience

  3. A drop-dead gorgeous girl with a smart mouth

  4. A+ skills in flirting with boss

  5. The ability to set him alight with one smouldering glance.

Hollywood Temptation

Scarlet Wilson

About the book: Hollywood surgeon Colt Travers needs a new receptionist ASAP. When the adorable—and completely broke—Selena Harris comes in needing stitches, he takes a risk and hires her on the spot. She can pay off her bill, and he won’t have to answer the phone anymore. They’re opposites in every way, and she’s exactly what he doesn’t want in a woman—impulsive, carefree, and amusing. He’s trying to resist her, but the longer she’s around, the further he sinks into temptation.

Selena never meant to get herself in such deep financial straits. LA has way too much temptation, from high-end shopping to gorgeous men, and now her life is in chaos. But Colt is different—responsible and noble—and although their chemistry is off the charts, he’s keeping her at arm’s length. She’s determined to win his trust–and his heart–but will the secrets she’s desperately trying to hide ruin their chance for a big Hollywood happy ending?

Hollywood Temptation Links:

B&N Kobo Entangled Website Goodreads

Author Bio: Scarlet Wilson wrote her first story aged 8 and has never stopped. Her family have fond memories of ‘Shirley and the Magic Purse’ with its army of mice, with names all beginning with the letter ‘m’. An avid reader Scarlet started with every Enid Blyton book, moved on to Sweet Valley, and many years later found romance novels.

Her fiancé has never read one of her books but believes all the heroes are based on him. And because he’s never read any of her books Scarlet is quite happy for him to keep thinking that!

Scarlet writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical and Romance lines and Entangled Publishing. Scarlet lives on the West Coast of Scotland with her fiancé and their two sons.

She can be reached via her website www.scarlet-wilson.com

Website Facebook Twitter Blog

Indulgence’s Links:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/IndulgenceBooks

Twitter: @IndulgenceBooks

Excerpt:

She rustled some papers in front of her. “I left a few letters on your desk that need your signature.”

Her eyes kept flickering back and forth to him and she was biting her lip. It was obvious she wanted to say something else.

“What?” He folded his arms across his chest. “What is it?”

She tilted her head. “I noticed a few things in your office…”

“Such as?”

She spun her chair around so she was facing him, her arm brushing against his knee. There was a mischievous glint in her eye as she counted things off on her fingers. “Such as the Captain Picard figure next to your computer. The signed picture of Leonard Nimoy. The framed Firefly script on the wall, next to the Star Wars cast photo.” She leaned forward, “But what I really want to know is, is that a genuine Star Trek communicator you’ve got in the glass case?”

Unexpected. Totally left field. A fellow sci-fi freak. Fantastic.

This woman just got better and better.

He laughed. “You’re every guy’s dream date, aren’t you?”

She started playing with the top button on her shirt, deliberately twiddling it between her finger and thumb, almost as if she were about to undo it… “Well, is it?”

He leaned forward. “You mean you didn’t try and pry the glass apart to see?”

“Of course I did. Any self-respecting Trekkie would.” She held up a finger to reveal a slightly bent nail. “Unfortunately I didn’t have my sonic screwdriver with me.”

He wiped his brow in mock relief. “Thank goodness. You have no idea what I had to do to get that.” He lifted his eyebrows, “Or who I had to operate on.”

Her eyes widened, the excitement clearly visible. “Spill,” she demanded.

He shook his head. “Oh no. My lips are sealed. I could tell you, but then I’d need to kill you with my genuine from-the-set light saber.”

She let out a shriek and jumped up from her seat. “You haven’t?”

“I have.”

“Luke’s or Darth Vader’s?”

He winked. “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. Hollywood secrets.”

There was something so nice about this. Someone else who appreciated his love of all things sci-fi. And this wasn’t some ploy to try and endear herself to him. No woman could possibly know all these things without being a true fellow fan. Finally someone he could talk to about who was the best Star Trek captain, and which was the best Star Wars film.

The last woman he’d dated had given an obvious shiver of distaste when she’d seen his collection – the kind that made him feel like a high school geek. Not the most romantic turn-on in the world.

Selena collapsed into the chair next to him and threw her hands in the air. “If you’re not going to share, I’ll let you know right now I’ll find a way of making you talk.”

He laughed. “Told you, my lips are sealed.”

She shook her head. “I should be finishing up. I’m getting tired and want to get home and to bed.” She shot him a sideways glance. “Home to watch my favorite episode of Star Trek with the Borg.”

He tried not to grin. He couldn’t resist, no matter how hard he tried. “Do you always go to bed early, Selena? You don’t strike me as the type.” The smell of her perfume was drifting into his nostrils. It was sultry. Something sensuous and spicy. Their gaze met. That green again. Even in this dim light it was impressive. Kind of like the eyes you would expect on a temptress or a siren, wooing men in just by looking at them. He couldn’t stop smiling around her.

Nor could he stop the range of X-rated thoughts he was having about her.

Helen would kill me. Twice, without a second thought.

Then there was the fact she was paying off a bill and the fact she’d told him she’d just been dumped by her boyfriend. The last thing he wanted was a rebound fling.

But he wasn’t listening. Not at all.

There was a glint of fire in her eyes and a devilish grin on her face. She was an experienced woman. She definitely knew the art of flirtation. “What do I strike you as?”

He felt an instant response in his body—one that was entirely inappropriate for their surroundings. Since when did she sound so husky? Boy, she was good.

Giveaway: $25 Amazon giveaway

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10. Monday Mishmash 10/21/13

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

  1. Tuesday Night TV  I have four shows on Tuesday nights! Pretty Little Liars, Ravenswood, The Originals, and Supernatural are all on Tuesday nights. Just my luck. Yes, they run at the same time, which means I'll be watching two of them on Wednesdays.
  2. Nothing To Tell Cover and Trailer Reveal  I'm organizing the cover and trailer reveal of the final and FREE installment of the Campus Crush Series by Ashelyn Drake. Want to participate? Sign up here.
  3. Crossroads Blog Tour  Yesterday was the official start of the Crossroads Blog Tour hosted by Judith Graves. I'm joining a bunch of authors for this tour and the grand prize is a Kindle loaded with all our books. Don't miss out.
  4. Announcement Coming November 6  I've hinted that I have an announcement to make. It's coming November 6th.
  5. Cricket's Drive Around Town Trailer  My next picture book, Cricket's Drive Around Town, is set to release December 3, 2013 through FutureWord Publishing. Here's the trailer my publisher made for the book.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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11. Writer Wednesday: Choosing a Pen Name


A few weeks ago, I came clean about using a pen name to write New Adult contemporary romance. I had two reasons for the pen name. First, branding. Kelly Hashway is a paranormal/fantasy author. Second, my NA titles are steamy and not for younger readers. So you can see why I needed a pen name. But you might be curious to know how I came up with the name Ashelyn Drake.

Here's how:

I took my full name: Kelly Christine Bradley Hashway
Yes, that's my first, middle, maiden, and married name. Then I pulled letters from each name. I wrote down an entire page of names and then Google searched them all. Why? I'm the only Kelly Hashway. I've checked on Google. And I wanted my pen name to be just as unique. So any name that came up in a search, had to get discarded. Well, I neared the end of my list and while I had a few names I liked, there was one I loved. Here are the letters I pulled:

Kelly Christine Bradley Hashway

Rearrange those letters and you get Ashelyn Drake. At first, I didn't have the "e" in Ashelyn but with the suggestion of my friend Beth Fred, I added it in there, and I had a name that didn't come up in Google searches. Yay! Plus, I love the way the name sounds. Maybe more so than my real name. ;)

So that's how Kelly Hashway became Ashelyn Drake.

If you used a pen name, what would yours be?


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12. Friday Feature: Breaking Nova





Breaking Nova (Nova, #1)

Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she's getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn't want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he's done, what he's lost. He's sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he's too damaged to get close to her, yet she's the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?



My thoughts:
Nova is already broken when we meet her. Her boyfriend, Landon, took his own life, and she can't get past it. She just wants him back. Every day she tortures herself by contemplating whether she should watch a video Landon left for her before he killed himself. While Nova is spiraling downward, she gets caught up in drugs, thanks to the influence of her roommate and a new acquaintance named Quinton. No one actually tries to get Nova to use drugs. She winds up doing it because everyone around her does it. That and she's tired of people telling her she's too good for drugs because she doesn't feel she is.
Quinton is also broken when we meet him. He's responsible for the deaths of two people and can't get past that. Drugs are how he gets through each day. He thinks Nova's too good for him and tries to push her away.
I really wanted to love this book. I did. But the drug use got to be too much for me. I felt like it became the focus of the novel, and since I can't relate to that, it got redundant for me. The writing was solid though. It just wasn't the right book for me.

Question: 
What was the last book you read that was good but not really your type of story?

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13. Monday Mishmash 12/9/13


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Blog Blitz  Last Friday, my blog was blitzed by the amazing group DL Hammons set up. The group heard that my agency closed and that I'm in the query trenches again, and they decided to stop by and cheer me up as well as wish me luck. I was truly touched by the amount of comments. All 200+ of them. You all made my day.

2. My Birthday  Yesterday was my birthday. I didn't like the getting older part, but I did enjoy the day with my husband and daughter. I also got some great gifts, including an awesome new purse. And my daughter had a birthday party to attend for one of her friends, so I helped out with that as well.

3. Spencer Hill Press Holiday Giveaway  The very awesome Judy Spelbring is hosting the Spencer Hill Press Holiday Giveaway again this year. There are tons of prizes to win. I've donated money to a gift card and I'm giving away a signed copy of Stalked by Death. Make sure you enter.
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4. Querying  I didn't do this last time I queried, but I'm going to share my progress this time around. I have a few fulls and partials out right now, so I've got all my fingers crossed that I might get the best Christmas present ever this year. The top item on my list is an offer for representation.

5. Meant For You by Faith Sullivan  Faith newest release comes out tomorrow. It's NA and it's HOT! Here's my review:

I had the pleasure of reading an ARC and let me say it is one HOT book! Seriously hot! I'm talking the hottest book I've ever read. The book opens with a very steamy scene and there are plenty more to follow throughout the book. Ivy and Eric are the couple you can't help but root for. Eric's past left him pretty much broken before he met Ivy, and now she's his second chance at happiness. Ivy's had plenty of struggles too, especially recently. So to see these two connect on such an emotional and intimate level is amazing.


But even though they are expecting a child together and are unable to keep their hands off each other, they have more than their share of problems. Ivy has been forced into a situation where she has to help her enemy, Lauren, from book one. I hate Lauren even more in this installment. She preys on Ivy's delicate situation and forces Ivy to write a script that will possibly destroy Eric and the relationship Ivy has with him.
And it wouldn't be a Faith Sullivan novel if there wasn't a big twist at the end. As usual, I didn't see it coming but as soon as it happened, I thought, I should've guessed! Sullivan is so good at keeping me guessing and making me eagerly anticipate her next book. Looking forward to book three to see what's in store for Ivy and Eric.

And I loved the book so much, I'm giving a copy away! Just fill out the rafflecopter below.
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That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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14. Friday Feature: Winter's Sweet Kiss



Winter’s Sweet Kiss

Publisher:  Roane Publishing
Release Date:  December 16, 2013
Key Words:  Adult, Romance, Sweet, Contemporary, Historical, Anthology

BEGINNING OF FOREVER  By Terri Rochenski
Blurb: When Wayne Edwards moves to town, Lillian Douglas experiences stirrings she thought were long dead. Guilt ridden over betraying her deceased husband and the feelings Wayne inspires, Lillian reluctantly lets him in. Secrets of the past – an old promise emerges, but will it threaten their forever?

MELT  By Shaya Roy
Blurb: Newlyweds in an arranged marriage, Naina and Dev go to the mountains of Shimla, India in search of snow. Unfortunately, they find fifteen inches more than they expected.
Being snowed in with her husband is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives Naina an excellent excuse to snuggle up to her deep, quiet man, but every time Dev spurns her, a little more of her heart drips away. Melting the ice around her husband’s heart before the snow outside does might take more pride than Naina’s ready to surrender.

ONE IN A MILLION SNOWFLAKES  By Michelle Ziegler
Blurb: Angela is in love with someone she can never have--her best friend, Rebecca’s older brother.

Stranded in the bitter cold after a disastrous blind date with yet another company Christmas party looming, a standing offer from the boss’ nephew gets a little more appealing. Desperation. Not a good sign. Surely when Rebecca rescues her from the blinding snow, she can also convince Angela to just go to the party alone. She can always count on her best friend.

That is, as long as she never finds out about Angela’s secret crush.

AN UNEXPECTED WREATH  By Annabelle Blume

Blurb: Stella’s got everything she needs in life: a great job, a beautiful house, and her independence. But on last minute trip to the local Christmas tree lot she finds something, or rather someone, she desperately wants - Grayson. An emergency trip to Target, an unexpected wreath, and a little Christmas magic make the season much brighter. 

SANTA BEBE  By Lily Carlyle

Blurb: Disillusioned by men and her belief that they see her only as an object, Bebe is determined to find a man with money. Her geeky, but unfailingly kind, next-door neighbor James tries to convince her of the possibility of real love, even as she reveals to him the troubled childhood that made her so cynical about relationships. When her mother dashes her hopes for a perfect Christmas, Bebe finds herself turning to James once again, and in the process, learning a lot about herself and the promise their relationship holds.

Add it on Goodreads.


An Unexpected Wreath
By Annabelle Blume

Blurb:
Stella’s got everything she needs in life: a great job, a beautiful house, and her independence. But on last minute trip to the local Christmas tree lot she finds something, or rather someone, she desperately wants - Grayson. An emergency trip to Target, an unexpected wreath, and a little Christmas magic make the season much brighter.

Excerpt:
"It's great you paid attention to your Stranger Danger lessons, but I'm not a serial killer."
"How do I know that?"
"Because I'm telling you I'm not."
His lackadaisical drawl infuriated her."Oh, and I suppose Ted Bundy passed out business cards listing his profession as a psychopath?"
"Here.” He handed over his business card. “See, not a psychopath or a killer. Just a guy who owns a Christmas tree lot. Let's get this to your place before it grows roots, and I have to chop it down to sell again next year."
The clean, white rectangle in her hand listed one Grayson Harris, owner and CEO of Harris Enterprises, LTD, as well as all pertinent contact information. She tucked it into her purse and resumed her uptight attitude, for good measure.
"Fine, now if they find me buried under the begonias in the spring, they'll know who did it. I'm just off Clemson Road. I drive fast. Keep up."

About Annabelle Blume
Annabelle is a best selling Romance and New Adult author, that is, when she's not checking homework or begrudgingly cooking dinner. Wife, mother, and creator of alternate worlds, Annabelle has a penchant for that which is outside the norm.

Her degree in Sociology has given her the ability to construct worlds that exist only in her head and translate them passionately to the page. The time spent studying individuals, interpersonal relationships, and particularly, women, within the constraints of our society led to Annabelle's unabashed ability to talk about sex as it fits into our modern lives.

She's also the author/personality of The Bombshell Mommy at Vitacost.com where she helps modern Bombshells and their families live “green”.

Read about her adventures in writing at www.AnnabelleBlumeBooks.com.
Follow her on Twitter @AnnabelleBlume and like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnnabelleBlumeAuthor

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15. Annik Troxler

Annik Troxler via #grainedit

The daughter of the highly influential designer Niklaus Troxler, Annik has created a strong body of work that has a unique voice of its own. Her posters have won many awards including the coveted International Poster Festival in Chaumont, France and the Swiss Federal Competition for Design. This has allowed for some unique opportunities including the chance to collaborate with Mevis & Van Deursen in Amsterdam. In 2011, she returned to her native Switzerland to open an independent studio and began a teaching position at the renowned Basel School of Design.

 

 

 

Annik Troxler via #grainedit

 

 

Annik Troxler via #grainedit

 

Annik Troxler via #grainedit

 

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16. Friday Feature: Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt


Please help me welcome my agency sister, Stina Lindenblatt today! Her book Tell Me When releases January 20, 2014 through Carina Press. Yay, Stina!

                             
Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.
She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.
But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.
When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her. And Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.

And if that's not enough to entice you, here's a picture teaser:


Find Stina online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

So, what do you think?



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17. Friday Feature: Campus Crush Book Blitz


The Campus Crush Book Blitz is going on right now. You might remember that I write contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake and that I put out a series of novellas last year. Well, I've taken those novellas and put them together in one book called Campus Crush, and the ebook version is only $1.99!


The co-eds of Timberland College know a little romance is good for the soul.
Follow four couples as they try to find love in the Campus Crush Series boxset, including Nothing to Tell, Romancing the R.A., Behind Closed Doors, and Rushing Into Love.
When you're looking for love, you have to be willing to break the rules.

A closer look at the four novellas in Campus Crush:

Nothing To Tell  
Some guys have the art of hooking up down to a science. They know all the right words to say and all the right games to play.

Except...for guys like Mike Hannigan. The dude has got no game, his pick-up lines never work, and to make matters worse, his wing-man is his female best friend, Mindy.

Until one day, a mysterious raven-haired beauty catches Mike's eye and he's determined to have her. He doesn't care what lengths he has to go to. He'll do whatever it takes to perfect his game and figure out what to say without sounding like a sleaze.

But… There's always something strange about mysterious girls. They're usually mysterious for a reason and this girl in particular might be more than Mike bargained for.

Romancing the R.A. 
Noelle Buckman is looking forward to making a fresh start in college, one that doesn’t involve immature high school boys. The second she steps on campus for freshman orientation, she can sense the possibilities. Especially when she spots Andy, a resident advisor who’s not just hot but also thoughtful enough to open doors for a girl.

And Andy has his eye on Noelle. Even when her nerves take control and she thinks she comes off as a hillbilly with no direction, Andy can see what she’s really like and he’s more than a little interested.

But orientation is less than two full days and there’s an entire summer between Noelle and Andy. Will her attempt to romance the R.A. be as short-lived as college orientation?

Behind Closed Doors 
Julia Monroe is through wishing she had an older guy like her best friend Noelle does. It’s time for her to act on her desires. So when she sees sexy, twenty-three-year-old Darren McEntire eating dinner alone at the pub, she decides to make her move. The attraction between them is undeniable, and even through Julia isn’t looking for a one-night stand, she winds up back at Darren’s place the same night she meets him. Only being with him makes her realize what she’s been missing dating other guys. All she wants is Darren.

But Julia allows Darren to think she’s his age and a grad student at the nearby college. She knows she has to confess the truth, but she’s afraid to shatter what they have. Not knowing what to do, she starts the semester only to discover that her new teaching assistant is none other than Darren. With the lies out in the open and campus policy against them, Julia and Darren know the relationship should be over before it even begins. But the chemistry between them is too strong to deny.

Can they find a way to be together or are they doomed to only see each other behind closed doors?

Rushing Into Love 
As a college junior, Mindy Stanton has no interest in dating a freshman.
That is until Ben Whitmore shows up and serenades his way into her heart at the dorm social she’s running. And after hearing him sing, even Mindy can’t deny that he has a deep, sexy voice that makes her melt.

Even though Mindy makes it clear that she doesn’t date younger guys, Ben pursues her anyway. After all, he doesn’t seem like the typical college freshman, who is only interested in hooking up, partying until he can’t remember his name, or joining a frat. He’s a gentleman, a romantic, and definitely knows all the right things to say to sweep a girl off her feet.

So Mindy drops her guard. She allows herself to fall for him. Before she knows it, Ben is all she can think about. To her, he’s perfect. But it doesn’t take Mindy long to discover that even the most perfect guys… have secrets.

Add Campus Crush on Goodreads.

But Campus Crush on Amazon and B&N.

Also, the paperback just released this week! You can find it here.

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Find Ashelyn online

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18. Book Review: Wish you were Italian by Kristin Rae

Age Range: 12 - 17 years Grade Level: 7 and up Series: If Only Paperback: 272 pages Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 6, 2014) Get it on Amazon! The summer before senior year of high school. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest summers of her life, but Pippa is headed to an art program she has no interest in. The one saving grace is it’s in Italy. And when the opportunity strikes,

0 Comments on Book Review: Wish you were Italian by Kristin Rae as of 3/6/2014 3:00:00 AM
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19. Interview with Rebecca Raisin, Author of The Heart of Bali

 

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Rebecca! Welcome to the Café!

[Rebecca Raisin] Thank you for having me here today!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rebecca Raisin] Disorganised, creative, happy, emotional, outgoing. ?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Heart of Bali?

[Rebecca Raisin] The Heart of Bali was my first ever attempt at writing romance. It’s a short story about a girl coming to terms with exactly what she wants in life, and rethinking some of the common mistakes she makes with men and relationships.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Rebecca Raisin] I came up with the title first, and then set the story around the location. The characters were fun to write because they are so different from each other, and both successful people in their own right. Marcel, the older French man in Bali, shows Aurora a new side of life, and how to appreciate every moment, and I kind of fell in love with him! Well, of course, he’s French…and I do love a French man! Aurora, the main character, is focused and driven, but at what cost?

The idea came about thinking of exotic holidays, and the idea for a holiday fling, would three days with someone special made you rethink your life, or would it be forgotten once the trip was over?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Rebecca Raisin] I loved writing about the always cheery Indonesian people, with their flirty charm and big smiles. If I could have transported myself to Kuta, I would have! Bali is such a wonderful holiday destination, and that coupled with the locals, and all their customs, made me start dreaming of a return visit.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Rebecca Raisin] Gulp, the sex scenes. It was my first attempt at them, and I must admit to blushing when I read them still!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Rebecca Raisin] Great Question! I think Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden…it’s such a sweet and gentle love song! And it takes me back…?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Rebecca Raisin] My phone! It has all my appointments stored in it, the Kindle app with all my ebooks, all my social media! It’s attached to me almost surgically some days ?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Rebecca Raisin] My phone! A glass of sparkly water, and a tub of pencils. Geez, that sounds incredibly boring! I write at our dining room table, so it’s fairly empty – and this is only because my desk is buried and I can’t find it. Brings me back to the disorganised thing again…My plan is to be a tidy-desk person one of these days…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Rebecca Raisin] Ohhh, another great question! I would like to travel back in time and be one of the ‘Lost Generation.’ Ernest Hemingway fascinates me, and I’d love to hang out with him and writers like Gertrude Stein, and F Scott Fitzgerald. I think I’d like to be one of the people on the fringes of their little circle and see how they really lived and what they discussed. It seems they lived fast, and well, and in Paris no less! And they were all brilliant writers!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Rebecca Raisin] I loved the latest Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason. I laughed and cried and enjoyed it immensely. Bridget is so relatable.

I’ve also just read The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I am amazed by his talent as a writer. That story will stay with me always.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Rebecca Raisin] We are a ‘foodie’ family, so we like to try out new recipes, and spend lots of time entertaining with friends and family. My boys like the beach so we can often be found there. And my favourite past time if I’m not writing is reading.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Rebecca Raisin] https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

http://rebeccaraisin.wordpress.com

www.twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum

Thank you so much! They were great questions!

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you!

About the book:

What happens when your break from real life shows you exactly how empty it actually is?
Focused and driven, Aurora has built her PR and event management company into a thriving success. But, it’s come at a cost. Her relationships suffer, and she has virtually no social life. When her boyfriend suggests a holiday to mend the bridges, it seems like a good idea to rekindle their attraction and make some new life choices. Instead, she finds herself in the tropical paradise of Bali, heartbroken and alone.
When Marcel, the hotelier, offers to show her the real Bali, she doesn’t hesitate — he might be just the pick-me-up she needs. Pinning Marcel as a Casanova, Aurora decides to have fun and not overthink things. Exploring her more sensual side brings a newfound confidence, and she finds herself falling for the French hotelier and the Bali he shows her…until an unexpected visitor arrives at the hotel.
As her holiday draws to a close, will Aurora choose to leave with good memories, or follow her heart?

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20. Spotlight and Giveaway – Tall, Dark & Alpha: An Alpha is Honorable

 

Thank you for hosting us today. We’re excited to talk about the alpha trait honor and our stories for the boxed set Tall, Dark & Alpha as we try to figure out: what IS alpha?

An Alpha is Honorable

An alpha man may not always act like a perfect gentleman, especially if he’s a bad boy or a little rough around the edges. But you can always count on him to be honorable and do the right thing, even if he has to put himself last. His code of ethics and conscience are even stronger than his muscles.

The alpha hero in Rock My Boat by Afton Locke, a paranormal romance, is a shape shifter. Even though Simon would lay down his life for Rhonda, he struggles with honor. He wants more than anything to be a normal man again, but to achieve that, he needs to take something from her. Can he trust her consent when it’s delivered under the influence of passion? (Once addicted to the sea, you can’t escape its pleasures.)

Silver Tongued Devils by Dawn Montgomery, a sci-fi romance, has two alpha heroes. Na’varr has given up everything to protect those under his command. He will never stoop to the level of his cousin and murder innocents. Despite his status as a mercenary, a space pirate, he will follow his own code until the end. Raesa’s situation is something he couldn’t ignore, and he would fight against the Imperial command or his cousin’s Advarian Republic to keep her safe.

Brom Raine would die to protect his captain and the woman they’ve taken on board. His half-human/half-feline DNA has blended his mind into a perfect balance. He will never let anyone else harm Raesa. (She was always one step from hell until she found redemption in their arms.)

The alpha hero in Crazy by Eve Langlais, a paranormal romance, is a vampire. Zane thinks he’s such a bad-ass, but when he meets innocent Ella, he can’t help but protect her. (Ella hears voices and they don’t like anyone.)

In Sex With an Ex by Eve Vaughn, a contemporary romance, the alpha hero is a lawyer. Ethan waited for Riley when he didn’t believe she was ready for the kind of relationship he wanted with her. He was even willing to walk away if it meant Riley’s happiness. (When two divorcees reunite in the bedroom, the sex is hotter than ever, but can their hearts survive the second time around?)

The alpha hero for In Her Wildest Dreams by Farrah Rochon is a CEO chocolatier. Even though he’s wanted her physically for years, Gavin has respected the boundaries of his friendship with Erica, because he knew she just wasn’t ready to go there yet. (When the woman of his dreams asks him to create a Valentine’s Day fantasy, Gavin plans to show her just how sweet their reality could be.)

In Two Cops, a Girl and a Pair of Handcuffs by Paige Tyler, a contemporary romance, the heroes, Reed and Hayes, are both cops, so they come with their own handcuffs. The heroine, Cilla, is eager for them to make her their prisoner, but she’s also a little nervous. Reed is quick to reassure her that everything they do will be for her pleasure. (Working the late shift just got a whole lot more fun!)

The alpha hero in Chase and Seduction: Hot Country Series, Book 1 by Randi Alexander, a contemporary romance, is a musician. Chase Tanner is a country western singer who donates his time singing kid’s songs to the sick little patients at children’s hospitals. He funds charities in honor of his mother, and is always available to do whatever needs to be done to help neighbors in need. When Chase realizes he is a detriment to Reno’s career, he chooses to back away from the woman he wants in his life, and give her the space she needs. (Come backstage and get your hands on country superstar Chase Tanner!)

In Tall, Dark & Apocalyptic by Sam Cheever, a paranormal romance, the alpha hero is a bounty hunter. Audie’s view of the world is black and white—good or bad. When he meets Yeira, the lines between black and white blur. But despite the dictates of his heart, Audie still strives to do the honorable thing. (A grand passion in an apocalyptic world. A love beyond reason and without boundaries.)

Tall, Dark & Alpha boxed set

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TallDarkandAlpha

Blurbs/Memes: http://www.aftonlocke.com/TDA.html

Excerpts: http://www.aftonlocke.com/TDAExcerpts.html

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20482968-tall-dark-alpha

Twitter: #TallDarkandAlpha

*Releases March 8th from Amazon and other online retailers.*

Blurb

He makes your heart pound and melts your resistance away. He promises you a world of passion and you find it impossible to resist his dark charm. When he catches your eye across the room, you know he means business. He could be an executive, cop, shape shifter, or a bad boy looking for a little fun. Once he has you in his sights, you can’t get away—and after one sizzling night in his arms, you won’t want to. He’s Tall, Dark & Alpha. The alpha male is the ultimate indulgence…the richest dark chocolate…and we’re offering him to you in abundance.

Delve into the sensual worlds of award-winning authors: Randi Alexander, Koko Brown, Sam Cheever, Delaney Diamond, Eve Langlais, Afton Locke, Dawn Montgomery, Farrah Rochon, Paige Tyler, and Eve Vaughn. Immerse yourself in the alpha male experience.

Featured Story – Rock My Boat by Afton Locke

Blurb

Workaholic CEO Rhonda Simms embarks on a Caribbean cruise to create an ad campaign for a big maritime freight client. She finds it impossible to concentrate, however, when Simon Mann, a blue marlin shifter, sets his sights on her. From a private, hands-on safety briefing to a wild ride in the ocean, he rocks her ordered world.

Simon drowned years ago in a shipwreck caused by Rhonda’s client, and he’ll do anything to be a normal man again. As his mate, Rhonda is the only person who can help him.

Tired of being so responsible, Rhonda is ready to let loose with a shipboard fling. Mating with Simon could cost a lot more than her virginity, however. Will she stick to her present course or will she let this sexy alpha rock her boat?

Excerpt (explicit)

He watched, dumbfounded, as she unfolded some towels and spread them out on the dry part of the balcony floor. When she straightened, he grabbed her arm.

“Wait. I have to explain something. I would have done it in the theater, but I ran out of breath.”

She tugged on her dark, erect nipples, setting fire to every logical thought in his brain. For a virgin, she sure knew how to seduce a man. To think he planned to seduce her. Rhonda was obviously in charge here. She stepped closer.

Her tongue circled his ear while her bare breasts pressed his chest. “I’m about to give you a gift. Why can’t you just accept it?”

He forced himself to take a step back. “Because mating with me will change you forever.”

She pointed at the stormy water and laughed. “You’ve already changed me. Those are my emotions. See what you’ve done to them?”

Grabbing her again, he held her against the wall. “I’m not just talking about emotions. If you do this, you’ll never be the same again physically.”

For the first time, her brow puckered with doubt. “I won’t turn into a fish, will I?”

“No, Rhonda.”

“Then I don’t care.”

She pulled his hand to her bare thigh then to the edge of her panties, which were just as damp, but hot. Unable to help himself, he sampled her swollen flesh with his finger. She was even wetter than she’d been this morning.

With his heart racing out of his chest, he glanced at the sea, realizing Poseidon would know everything that happened here tonight. Rhonda had given her consent, hadn’t she? Hadn’t she?!

More importantly, was it good enough for him? If he lived, his conscience would follow him for the rest of his life.

Afton Locke Links:

Web site: http://www.aftonlocke.com

Facebook profile page: https://www.facebook.com/afton.locke

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AftonLockeAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/aftonlocke

Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thelovechronicle/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Afton_Locke

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/aftonlocke

Contest

This post is part of the What IS Alpha? Blog Tour.

The grand prize for the tour is a $25 Amazon gift card.

To be eligible, leave a COMMENT on this post. It MUST relate to the alpha trait discussed in the post.

The winner will be announced at http://www.aftonlocke.com/tdatour.html on March 20th.

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21. Writer Wednesday: Rebranding


I've talked about branding before. How once you get a certain genre of books out there with your name on them (or even before, as was the case with me—sometimes just having books under contract is enough), you are branded as THAT genre author. I was branded as a paranormal author. But if you recall, I did put out two novellas that were outside my brand. Remember these?


The third novella never came out. Want to know why? My brand was working against me, so I had the series pulled. Yes, I talked to Swoon Romance and we agreed to take the series down. Why? Because I decided to create a pen name and write contemporary romance as Ashelyn Drake. Also, when I wrote the Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak series, it wasn't a novella series. It was a full-length novel. And with my new brand under Ashelyn, I wanted that full novel back because that's how I always envisioned the story to be told.

Well, I didn't just put the book back together. I did a major rewrite. I deleted the first three chapters. Yup, gone! I got right into the heart of the story and backed off the tennis theme that previously ran throughout the book. Why am I telling you all this? Simple. Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak is now a novel titled Perfect For You, and it's coming out in September through Swoon Romance. It has a gorgeous new cover that is being revealed this Friday with YA Bound Book Tours. (You can sign up to help with the reveal here if you're interested.)

But I'm not sharing this story today because I have a reveal coming up. I'm sharing my story because sometimes things don't happen the way we envision them, but that doesn't mean that we can't take things into our own hands and change things. Luckily, Swoon Romance was great about helping me with my vision for this book, but I was prepared to self-publish the title if I needed to. 

So just because things don't happen the way you want them to at first, don't be afraid to make changes and alter the future of your book. I'm really glad I did.


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22. Brian Edward Miller AKA Orlin Culture Shop

Orlin Culture shop #grainedit

Brian Edward Miller is a talented illustrator with a knack for creating lush landscapes inspired by his eighties-driven childhood and a family legacy of artists and craftsman. With stints at gaming and design studios, he recently ventured out on his own with the launch of Orlin Culture Shop, a studio based in Erie, Colorado.


Orlin Culture shop #grainedit

Orlin Culture shop #grainedit

Orlin Culture shop #grainedit

Orlin Culture shop #grainedit

Orlin Culture shop #grainedit

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Also worth viewing…
Kevin Dart Interview
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23. Vitor Andrade

vitor andrade via @grainedit

Beautiful work from Vitor Andrade, a designer and art director based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, currently employed at R/GA.

vitor andrade via @grainedit

vitor andrade via @grainedit

vitor andrade via @grainedit

vitor andrade via @grainedit

——————–

Also worth viewing…
Hong Kong Stamps
WTHR App
Robert Sessler

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RSS Sponsor: Mattson Creative is Hiring!






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24. Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1), by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Romance, Simone Elkeles
Categories: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Stand-Alone, Family Issues
Goodreads Amazon / Simone Elkeles's Website
Read in September 2013

Summary:

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
My Thoughts:

Simone has done it again! This woman can really make you fall for her characters! There are so many things I loved about this book, I'll just list them for you:

1. A strong female MC. Ashtyn is such a good and independent (American) football player that her teammates choose her over her boyfriend to be the team's captain. When she first meets Derek, she brandishes a pitchfork at him to protect herself. She can take care of herself and she lets everyone know it.

2. The bad boy with a soft heart. Admit it. You love them. I love them. We all do. Derek has the Elkeles stamp all over him: hard exterior, but really loving heart. I just wanted to hug him all the time.

3. A really cool set of secondary characters. I mean, how great are Ashtyn's boy friends? Her relationship with them is amazing. She's one of them, but she can be a girly girl, too. And I just LOVED them whenever they stepped up to protect her. Those are real friends.

4. A greatly built story that has actual meaning, as opposed to just being there for the sake of giving the characters an environment to meet and fall in love. Derek has lost his mother, his father is overseas with the Navy and his stepmother is a 25-year-old girl with a little son and a baby on the way. Ashtyn's mum is MIA, her father barely gives her the time of day (but for ACTUAL reasons, not just to be out of her way!) and her sister's coming back home after seven years of having no contact with her. These are the conditions in which Derek and Ashtyn meet, and they shape up their story in a beautiful, beautiful way.

5. Sports in a Contemporary book! I don't understand squat about American football, I just think about it like I would rugby, but Simone really made me like the sport! I usually avoid Contemps with sports, but since this was an Elkeles book, there was just no way I was going to miss reading it.

Yes, your heart will twinge a little in pain, but trust me, it'll live. This is just a really lovely book meant to be read when you want to feel a little bit of loving.

Pre-order the book now through the links listed above.
Happy reading,
Ella

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25. Friday Feature: Spiralling Out of Control by Michelle Evans (Review)

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Summary:
Temptation, depression, seduction, betrayal... Not what Stephanie was expecting at fifteen years of age. Uprooted from her happy, all-girl high school life with a dream filled future and thrown into an unfriendly co-ed school, Stephanie spirals into depression.
 
When charismatic high school senior, Jason notices her, Stephanie jumps in feet first and willingly puts all her faith and trust in him, a boy she barely knows. 
Every choice she makes and turn she takes leads her towards a dangerous path.
 


Her best friend is never far away and ready to catch her … but will she push Tabbie too far away when she needs her most?




My thoughts:
I admit, I didn't know this was a Christian book before I agreed to read it. I'm mentioning it because if you don't like those books, this isn't for you. There's a definite Christian message that comes through. Stephanie falls fast in this book. She falls for Jason, and even though she thinks she wants to wait for marriage to have sex, after one kiss with Jason, she's already thinking about sleeping with him. I admit I thought that happened really fast. I would've liked to see a more gradual progression to their relationship, especially since he's the one who ends up dragging her down.

Stephanie makes one bad choice after another, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I wanted to root for her, but I found it hard to at times. Now obviously, the book is meant to be about a girl who is spiraling out of control, and Evans definitely portrays that. Stephanie's story gets bleak, and her troubles compound until her life truly is out of control.

This is really a tough book for me to review because it's not my typical read, but if you can appreciate a realistic look at what happens when teens get wrapped up in drugs and sex, then this is the book for you.

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