Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Dear Opl by Shelly Sackier

I hope you're ready for another great book spotlight! This time it's a Middle Grade novel inthe spotlight, and one that I'm pretty darn excited about. A book about an important time in a girl's life, and about an important subject, Dear Opl looks fabulous! Take a look for yourself.

There are three things Opl never expected to do during the eighth grade:

● Start a vendetta against celebrity check Alfie Adams, the “Nude Food Dude”

● Take yoga classes with her grandpa

● Become a famous blogger

But after a year of shrinking down her personality to compensate for the fact that her body’s getting bigger, Opl thinks it’s about time to start speaking up again. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone actually starts to listen…

Sound like something up your alley? I thought so! Check out the rest of the info below, and make sure to scroll down to the bottom for a chance to win a copy of this book for your very own!

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? What is the worst?

Firstly, many thanks Jessica and Tina for having me here. It’s such a treat and your blog is exactly the kind of site that makes me forget I was supposed to start dinner two hours ago.

Now, the best advice I ever received was If you want to be a successful author, marry a publisher.

It was also the worst advice because I have met a bucketload of those folks, and as nice as they all are, many of them are pasty white and have muscle atrophy from doing nothing but sitting at their desks all day and all night long in desperate search of the next great book.

But the runner up best advice would be that which came from my violin teacher: only practice on the days that you eat. Since I believe everything I want to find success with requires practice, it makes perfect sense to realize the art of storytelling falls under that umbrella. My violin teacher said that if you want to develop a high level of ability with anything, then every day you must touch it. And by that he meant spend time with it. He was Japanese and sometimes had a few wonky slips with English. I knew where he was going with it.

The runner up worst advice came from me, specifically on the days when trying to convince myself that food really wasn’t all that important.

Ultimately, I realized there would be no success without the most important ingredient: DESIRE. As long as you can foster the desire to do something, succeeding with it is a piece of cake. Ooh, yum. Cake.

Shelley Sackier is an author and blogger who writes about the everyday ordinary grand slams and gruesome snafus in completing the Herculean task of raising two healthy human beings. Ultimately she hopes to impart the necessary knowledge of how to balance their checkbooks and pay their taxes. Here greatest hope is to discover that parallel universes are a reality, and that somewhere she is living a life where her children have agreed to occasionally make eye contact with her. They live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

You can read more of her work, illustrated by Robin Gott, at

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: Don't Vote for Me by Krista Van Dolzer

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Don't Vote for Me
Author: Krista Van Dolzer
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: Hardcover; 240
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: Publisher / NetGalley
Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories about middle school friendships and lessons.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Veronica rules the school.David's starting a revolution. It's class president election time, and no one is surprised when Veronica Pritchard-Pratt is the only name on the list. She's the most popular girl in school, a social giant who rules the campaign every single year. David, for one, is sick of the tyranny-which he says. Out loud. When Veronica hears about this, she issues a public challenge to David. With his pride on the line, David accepts his fate and enters the race. But as the campaign wages on, and David and Veronica are also paired up for a spring musical recital, David learns this Goliath is more than just a social giant-and maybe deserves to win more than he does...

I have a soft spot for contemporary MG fiction. I think that this age group is the perfect opportunity to start discussing a lot of real life issues that kids either are, or will possibly someday, tackle. My favorite topic of these, is dealing with middle school life. Ah, middle school. It has the power to be so amazing, and so awkward. I generally tend to snatch up any book that deals with that wild world, and Don't Vote for Me was no exception.

This was a cute, if slightly simple story line. David, our witty protagonist, overzealously vows to overthrow his middle school president and tyrant, Veronica Pritchard-Pratt. This creates a funny, misguided campaign with David's friends at the wheel. I admit, it was pretty hilarious to watch them try to run against such a popular girl. There were a lot of giggle worthy moments. It took me back to my middle school friendships.

Below all the whimsy though, was another story line. One about a girl who was misunderstood. Veronica isn't quite what she seems on the outside, and once David starts to discover that he slowly realizes how unfair he was really being. It was refreshing to see a an MG story about not judging others. Still, I felt like this addition could have been a lot stronger. I wanted to see more growth from both Veronica and David, but there just wasn't time.

Final verdict? A sweet, fun story about MG politics and friendships. With a little bit of a moral thrown in, it's a solid 3-star read.


FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Review: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Taking the Heat
Author: Victoria Dahl
Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: Paperback; 384
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Genre: Romance- 18+ recommended

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books that are sweet, funny and full of chemistry.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town's irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.

Gabe MacKenzie's heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future's tied up in his family's Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there's just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.
I will be the first to admit, I don't usually enjoy adult romance stories about virgins, but Taking the Heat has changed that. Veronica's character was full of sass and wit which made her much more relatable and interesting. Her virginity didn't define her or hold her back and I appreciated that as a reader. The whole idea of being a relationship columnist without any specific experience made for some laugh out loud moments.

Overall, this story was a rather fun read with just enough seriousness to keep the plot moving forward. Gabe and Veronica weren't complicated characters, but they both had enough depth and personal baggage to work through to keep things interesting.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming lends itself to some great outdoorsy scenery, which Victoria Dahl does a great job capturing. I enjoyed the whole small town feel with the supporting characters and gossip train.

Are you looking for a lighthearted romance? Do you enjoy descriptive scenery and characters with great chemistry? This is a book for you. Happy reading!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Spotlight + Guest Post: The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen by R.T. Lowe

Apologies for the radio silence, awesome followers. Sometimes life just gets so crazy that blogging has to take a back seat. We always come back though! It's an obsession.

I'm happy to pop back in with a new book for you to put on your reading list. Please give a warm welcome to Randall T. Lowe and his dark urban fantasy, The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen.

Reeling from a terrible accident that claimed the lives of his parents, Felix arrives at Portland College hoping only to survive the experience. In time, however, his reality star roommate shows him there is more to higher education than just classes, shared bathrooms and bad dorm food, and Felix gradually dares to believe he can put his past behind him. But a fateful storm looms on the horizon: In the nearby woods, two hikers become the latest victims in a series of gruesome murders; a disfigured giant embarks on a vicious cross-country rampage, killing teenagers who fail his 'test'; and an ancient society of assassins tasked with eradicating the wielders of a mysterious source of power awakens after a long silence. Only one man--the school's groundskeeper--knows that the seemingly unrelated events are connected, and that an eighteen-year-old boy stands in the center of the storm.

Urban Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, because of all the trials and tribulations that the characters go through. They always feel so real, and I can't help but get behind them. Is it any wonder that I'm excited to see what happens to Felix?

If you'd like to add this to your reading list, I'll make it easy for you.

Amazon | Goodreads | BookLikes

Now please enjoy a guest post from R.T. Lowe, and happy reading!


The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen
The Origins of a Dark Urban Fantasy

I drive to work. It takes me about an hour each way. Most people consider it a massive time suck, and for the most part I wouldn’t disagree, but all those hours alone with only the thoughts in my head triggered an idea. I started telling myself a story. The story took place on a college campus and the main character was a freshman. His name was Felix. In some ways this freshman (and the story) was quite ordinary. Felix made friends, went to class, studied, and partied like any eighteen-year-old away from home for the first time. Then I took that basic story and layered it with elements that interest me. After all, I was making it all up in my mind while stuck on the Merritt Parkway to entertain myself. So this is what I did:

·       I made Felix suffer. I’m a firm believer in putting your protagonist through the wringer. He steps foot on the campus of Portland College already with a heavy heart (his parents recently died in a mysterious fire) . . . and then it only gets worse for him.

·       I created a world in the midst of an approaching darkness, where strange creatures roam the nearby forest and a serial killer (the “Faceman”) murders teenagers who fail a “simple” test. The encounters with the unfortunate victims are chilling, violent and bloody. I made the decision ‘to spare no gore’ after a great deal of thought, fully aware that I was potentially subjecting myself to criticism. I understood that it would shock some (and most likely remove the book from the reading lists for those under sixteen), but I didn’t want to hint at the violence or rely on my readers’ imaginations. There are characters in my book who are truly bad people (or flesh eating monsters, in some cases) and I took the position that their actions should be described in such a way that the reader will understand that there is no limit to their cruelty. And although the campus of Portland College appears immune to the spreading darkness, beneath (and within) its stately lecture halls and ivy-shrouded façades, a hidden world awaits those who can unlock its secrets.

·       I told the story from multiple perspectives, shifting scenes (and chronology) to keep the reader off balance. There is undoubtedly some complexity to the tale, but I believe Young Adult/New Adult readers are looking for stories that make you think. I drive the story forward through the eyes and thoughts of a dozen different characters. Some chapters seem unrelated to the “main” story (especially the prologue which takes place in the 4th century), but the pieces all connect as the plot unfolds and Felix learns that he may be ‘different’ than everyone else.  

·       I created characters who keep you guessing. In the real world, the “good guys” can be as flawed as the “bad guys,” and sometimes the line between good and bad is a matter of perspective. I also made sure that the “magic system” in my story allows for amazing, jaw-dropping displays of supernatural power. The way I see it, if you’re going to write in the realm of the paranormal you may as well go all the way: Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to start a fight with some of the characters in my book.  

·       In The Felix Chronicles, everything is at stake. I’ve always liked stories where the stakes are high, and they couldn’t be any higher than the fate of the world hinging on the outcome of a war that has raged for nearly 2,000 years.

·       I included humor (Felix’s roommate, Lucas, appeared on a reality TV show and he lightens the mood at all the right times) and romance (Felix has a love interest (or two) and Lucas has several as he’s not afraid to use his celebrity to his advantage) to compliment and counterbalance the action and horror.

There’s much more to TFC: Freshmen, but those are some of the highlights. Once I had it locked down tight in my head I sat down and started to write. 500 pages later (and a year or two of very little sleep) I published the book. It may not be for everyone, but I suppose that’s to be expected when you write for an audience of one. And who said nothing good can come from a long commute?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review & Tour: Exposing the Heiress (Entangled Ignite) by Jennifer Apodaca

Media Type: Kindle (ARC)
Title: Exposing the Heiress
Author: Jennifer Apodaca
Publisher: Entangled Ignite
Pages: paperback; 198
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: Publisher/ Author
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Content Screening: Sexual Situations 18+

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a little suspense with a  steamy romance.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

This Marine will protect her at all costs...

When wealthy heiress Alyssa Brooks finds out her stepfather has been paying her fiancé to marry her, she’s humiliated and betrayed. She quickly breaks the engagement, only to be blackmailed by her now ex­fiancé, who threatens both Alyssa and the son she gave up for adoption. With nowhere to go, she turns to the one man she can trust.

Former Marine sniper Hunter Reece’s lethal skills could save Alyssa’s life. But his little sister’s best friend has turned into a woman, who is an irresistible mix of secrets and sexiness. And while Hunter can trust himself to protect her, he can’t trust himself to keep his attraction hidden...or even pretend to be the man that Alyssa remembers.

Because the only way to keep the lovely heiress safe is to become the one thing he knows she could never love...a killer.
I think what makes this book only a three instead of a five for me is how predictable it is. I really enjoyed the writing style, characters and chemistry between Alyssa and Hunter but there was no suspense for me. Every major plot point was painfully obvious and that kind of ruined it for me.

I haven't read any of the previous books in the series, but it wasn't necessary at all as this is a great stand alone story. I did enjoy the brief background on Alyssa and Hunter's shared history, which gave enough context to their instant attraction to make me believe it. Childhood crushes meeting up as adults is almost always a recipe for some great banter and this book did not disappoint. I enjoyed the playful teasing and nicknames between the lead characters without it bordering on annoying. It was a perfect balance of sappiness for my tastes.

As far as characters go, Hunter was a solid hero with his skills and sarcastic wit. His PTSD and insecurities made him flawed enough to feel authentic. I really enjoyed that he had an outlet to deal with his issues (even if he didn't want to share it with anyone else) instead of bottling everything up. Alyssa on the other hand was strong from start to finish and I wanted everything to work out in her favor. It could be argued that her character was weak for agreeing to marry someone she didn't love, but given the context of the engagement, I would say that was still a strong choice even if it wasn't the right one.

I'd definitely recommend this book if you're in the mood for some fast paced romance with solid writing and interesting characters, just don't expect a lot of suspenseful moments.

Award winning author Jennifer Apodaca grew up in Southern California and met her very own hero at the dog pound. She worked there, he came in on business, and it was puppy love. They married and had three wonderful sons.
While her husband worked on his master’s degree, Jen did the mom thing by day and went to college at night with the intention of pursuing a marketing degree. But her true passion was writing. With time at a premium, she had to make a choice.Choosing writing, and with the full support of her husband, she poured herself into her dream. A mere eight years later, she published her first book DATING CAN BE MURDER. In her career, Jen has written a fun and sexy mystery series and a variety of contemporary romances. Taking the pen name of Jennifer Lyon, she also created a dark, sizzling paranormal series, and most recently, The Plus One Chronicles, an emotional and sexy adult contemporary series.
Jen has achieved many of her dreams except for attaining a self­cleaning house, a latte delivery service, and finding the holy grail of nonfattening wine and chocolate. She can live with those disappointments as long as she can keep writing the stories she loves to share with readers.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Review: Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Her Sister's Shoes
Author: Ashley Farley
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 320
Release Date: June 24, 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours / Author
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy family dramas, and aren't afraid to get a bit teary eyed.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister’s Shoes is the story of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control.

In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward.

Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk.

In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.

For fans of Elin Hildebrand, Her Sister’s Shoes is a contemporary women’s novel that explores and proves the healing power of family.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I'm always willing to sink into a family story, especially when the characters feel realistic. Her Sister's Shoes delivers exactly that. A family full of strong women, each facing down their own problems. A family with a love that transcends anything that comes their way, even when it seems impossible. I was so lost in this book, that I barely set it down. Which is saying a lot, since this story isn't always the happiest one.

Sam, Jackie and Faith were so very different from one another. Ashley Farley built a unique life for each of these women, and it was so interesting to see how they interacted with one another. Sam, a single mother with a disabled teenager. Jackie, the one who married well and built the "perfect" life. Faith, a loving mother in a bad relationship. If you're thinking that there is a lot of drama brewing here, you'd be right. Be warned, there is violence and depression in this story. You'll likely need tissues to make it through.

What I liked most about Her Sister's Shoes was the vivid picture of family love that was laid out in front of me. These sisters couldn't have been more different, and each was dealing with their own brand of crazy. However the one thing that remained true was that they were there for one another. What can I say? I'm a sucker for sister stories. At the end of the day, all you have is your family. Sure, it was a little predictable at times, I'll be honest. I foresaw a lot of what was coming. Still, it was easy to forgive that and just enjoy this for what it was.

My one gripe, and I suppose I should have expected this, was that everything ties up too neatly. There is so much going on in this book. Sam's family is dealing with everything from domestic abuse, to an ailing parent. Truly, it's a lot for any one family. Despite all of that, I was willing to suspend disbelief and read on. I kept hoping that the ending would be something unique. Something poignant. Instead, predictably, it all wrapped up with a happy little bow.

Final verdict? A great story for people who love reading about family love. Get a box of tissues though. You're going to need them.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Review: The Fold by Peter Clines

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Fold
Author: Peter Clines
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Pages: Hardcover; 384
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy accessible Science Fiction that will keep you reading well into the night.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.

That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.

Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.

As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.

A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.

Accessible Science Fiction! That, my friends, is exactly what The Fold delivers. Quite well in fact, if I do say so myself. As a fair-weather reader of Sci Fi, I tend to shy away if things get too technical. I love the ideas that this genre puts forth. Especially because so much of what it offers up is actually plausible! Still, when I can't comprehend some of what I'm reading I tend to loose interest. The Fold walked that beautiful line between facts, and fiction. It gave me characters that I could love and understand. It gave me chilling mystery, and profound moments too. Long story short? This was a great read!

Although I've never known anyone like Mike, with his staggering IQ and eidetic memory, he was so likable that I felt like we were friends. Imagine having a brain like a super computer. Able to recall anything that you've ever seen, heard, or even tasted. What would you do with such a power? If you're Mike, you'd work as a high school English teacher. I won't get into the particulars, since I'd rather you discover them for yourself, but trust me when I say that Mike is one fascinating individual. Watching him slowly unravel all the secrets surrounding the "Albequerque Door" had me riveted. Not two weeks before I read this book, I was reading an article about scientists working with dark matter, and looking at folds in space. After reading this book? Well, I'll simply say that I really hope things don't turn out that way they do in here.

I think what makes this book so accessible, honestly, is that it doesn't just dwell on the scientific aspect of things. The team working on this project feel like real people. We see how they interact with one another, along with their strengths and flaws. Every time it seemed like things might be getting a bit too heavy, something would happen to pull me back. I had such an investment in the characters of this book, such a deep need to see them through, that I couldn't stop reading. I knew what they were doing was dangerous, I just didn't realize how right I was. The twist here is amazing!

My final verdict is a simple one, and that's simply that this book needs a spot on your reading list. While it wasn't perfect, it was a ton of fun to read! It's not often that I power through a Sci Fi book, but this one made it impossible not to. I hope there's a follow up, because I could definitely read more about Mike.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review: Write for Me by Michelle Holt

Media Type: ebook
Title: Write for Me
Author: Michelle Holt
Publisher: Self
Pages: Paperback, 242
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a good love story under unfortunate circumstances

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
My name is Bently Young. I wouldn’t say I’m an angry person. In fact my life had been like a bubble gum infused sundae topped with happiness sprinkles up until the age of when I could date. And I started to date a lot. Guys were fun at first, a nice dinner, someone to tell me I was pretty and laugh at my sarcastic jokes. But then the little creeps started showing their true colors. And they were not my favorite colors. They were like barf green and overripe fungus tangerine. And it made me angry.

Swearing off dating all together was too drastic, but I sure wanted to not do it for a while. I had my family and friends to keep me occupied. I didn’t need a man to take me to cheesy restaurants. One could only eat so much free bread and butter. Life could keep zooming along without the necessity of someone with chest hair being around.

Oh but then I met Josh. If I could have just never known he existed, all would have been fine. Of course, I don’t mean that because if I never knew he was in the world, my own world would have been an awful place. He makes me want to dance under a happiness sprinkle hail storm. Pretty much he is gorgeous and has the insane ability to use his words to make my heart float out of my chest. That made things a lot better when everything else I knew in my life decided to implode. But we weren’t immune to the black hole of horribleness either.

Ours is an epic love story and I just happened to write it down for you…
Bently Young is my kind of girl:  smart, witty and sarcastic to fault. I truly enjoyed getting to know her throughout the story. While I expected a lighthearted love story, I must warn you fair readers, this book tackles some serious issues that I wasn't prepared for after reading the synopsis. I don't want to give too much away but I do want to mention it for those looking for a lighter read.

I cannot pinpoint exactly what made me fall in love with this story, but I think the characters are definitely the top of my list. When we meet Bently, she is a scorned woman wallowing from her recent break up. Luckily her bff/roomie Taylor is there to help her pick up the pieces, as a good friend would, by helping her move on. Enter Josh.

The insta-love that so many of the NA books I've read are guilty of is not part of this story, and I am so grateful. Bently and Josh have chemistry, don't get me wrong, but their relationship is full of trials and tribulations. There are laugh out loud funny moments and ball your eyes out sadness in this roller coaster of a story, but somehow you can't seem to put it down.

The note writing habits of Josh are equally adorable and cringe worthy in sappiness. I personally enjoy getting notes from my significant other so I find them endearing, but others may not. Regardless, this book is about more than just Bently and Josh's romance. It's about life, family, friends and most of all, growing up.

I would recommend this to New Adult fans, as well as anyone who enjoys good story telling. This book was well written and flowed beautifully from moment to moment.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Dare to Rock by Carly Phillips

Let's call today "Tantalizing Tuesday", because the book I have for you today definitely fits that description! Are you ready for some romance? For some steam? For some sizzle? I've got you covered.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Avery Dare lives a quiet life in Miami as an online fashion/makeup video blogger. She has good friends, a close, large family and if her love life is lacking, she likes it that way. But when she receives an invitation to one of her ex's concerts along with an invitation to meet him back stage, she decides to take the risk... and comes face to face with the reality of his rock star lifestyle - the press, the crowds, and the half-naked groupies.

At eighteen, Grey Kingston left everything he knew and loved behind to seek fame and fortune as a rock star, and he found it as the lead guitarist and singer for the band, Tangled Royal. Fans adore him, women throw themselves at him, and he can afford everything he couldn't growing up. Yet at the height of his career, he's ready to walk away and return home to a simpler life... and the woman he left behind, if he can convince her to give him another chance.

Except moving on isn't as easy as Grey would like. When Avery is threatened by a stalker, it becomes evident Grey's fans not only don't want him to retire, they don't want Avery in his life either. And Avery isn't sure she wants the pressures that are part of Grey's life... but she doesn't want to lose him again, either. Can their recently renewed love survive the fallout?
Can you feel the steam coming off that cover? It's okay, I won't judge you if you need to fan yourself a bit. If it wasn't obvious from the cover, this is a steamy romance book. Beware of a bit of steam and sass in the excerpt below!

Sweat poured off Grey Kingston’s body, and his heart beat a too-rapid rhythm, the high and adrenaline rush from his performance still pulsing through his veins as he walked into the lounge backstage. He pulled off his soaked shirt and tossed it onto the floor, grateful for the stocked room and waiting pile of towels. He grabbed one and dried his face and hair, deliberately trying to slow his breathing.

The sound of Tangled Royal fans stomping their feet and demanding an encore echoed through the walls, but the band had performed their final set. Even as his pulse still soared.

He glanced toward the door. “Did she pick up the ticket?” Grey asked Simon Colson, their manager, who was busy texting on his phone.

“What? Who?” Simon, ever the well-dressed Brit, shoved his phone into his trouser pocket. No jeans for him. “Good show,” he said to Grey and the rest of the band, ignoring Grey’s question.

Lola Corbin, their lead singer and Grey’s best friend, was still bouncing in her heels, not yet coming down from their shared high either. “We did rock it,” she said, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder.

Milo Davis, their bassist, grunted something and fell into a chair in the corner. Grey narrowed his gaze. Milo barely had the energy for a full concert these days, and that worried him.

But right now Grey had bigger concerns and turned to Simon. “I asked you if Avery Dare picked up the VIP tickets I told you to leave at the box office.”

Simon shrugged. “I couldn’t tell you.”

Grey scowled at his manager’s I don’t give a shit tone. More and more lately, Simon’s lack of consideration about what the band members wanted grated on Grey’s nerves. Lola might be considering using him for her solo career, but anything Grey did going forward wouldn’t be with the man.

At least he’d indicated he had left the tickets. He’d be out of a job if he screwed with Grey on this. “Fucking find out.”

“What’s so special about this piece of ass?” Simon barely got the words out because Grey grabbed him by his collared shirt and pinned him up against the wall.

“Talk about her like that again and you’re done.”

“Whoa.” Lola put her petite body between them, pushing Grey away from their manager. “Everyone breathe,” she muttered. “You. Go take a walk and calm down before your company shows up,” she ordered Grey.

He stormed off, missing whatever lecture she gave to Simon next.

Though the man had done his job well, helping maneuver Tangled Royal to the elusive top of the charts, he cared about the bottom line and not much else. Especially not the fact that Tangled Royal was more than a band, people with real feelings, issues, and lives. No wonder Simon didn’t believe how serious both Grey and Lola were about changing their futures.

Danny Bills, their drummer, already had a wife and two daughters who lived in L.A. He was ready for home time, and everyone knew it. Milo was another story. If he didn’t stop the drugs, he wouldn’t have a future.

As for Grey, he hoped for more than the travel and fame that had been so important to him way back when. He hoped for her.

His eyes flickered to the door. No sign of Avery. He tipped his head back, wondering if she’d come backstage or ignore the invitation … and him. His stomach gripped painfully at the thought of not seeing her again. She was the one person who not only understood the loner musician he’d been as a teen but who’d grounded him when he’d threatened to spiral. With her soft voice, that thick mane of dark hair, and those lavender-like eyes, she’d burrowed someplace deep inside him. Still, she hadn’t been enough to hold him, not when fame, fortune, and the need to be something more lived within him.

But it was Avery whose face he saw in the nameless women he’d fucked over the years. Avery whose belief in him kept him going when times were hard. Funny how that worked. He wondered if she’d thought of him over the years and if she was as hyped up about possibly seeing him again now.

After a successful fifteen year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

Find her: Website | Facebook | Tsu | Twitter | Goodreads

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Kelly Oram Blog Takeover: Day 1 of Science Geek Appreciation Week!

Good morning, ladies and gents! Welcome to Day 1 of Science Geek Appreciation Week with author Kelly Oram--a fun-filled week of teasers, interviews, games, giveaways, and lots and lost of science! I've pretty much signed my blog over to Kelly this week, and I'm not even upset about it. 

We're going to kick off the week by introducing you to the stars of the Spanish Fork High Science Squad--Club President Avery Shaw and her newest recruit, Grayson Kennedy--in their debut novel The Avery Shaw Experiment.

Title: The Avery Shaw Experiment
Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Blufields
Available: AmazoniBooksB&NKobo
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

I was so out of it that I’d slipped into the bathroom while Grayson was in the shower, and I didn’t even notice until he poked his head out from behind the curtain with a surprised look on his face. “Aves, babe, I’m a little busy here.” He cocked an eyebrow and gave me a crooked smile. “Unless you’re planning to join me...?” Just then there was a loud knock on the door, and my mother’s worried voice called out to me. I looked up at Grayson and in a moment of sheer panic didn’t think twice before jumping behind the curtain with him. “Whoa! Avery! I was only teasing!” I could hear Grayson, but I couldn’t really respond. I leaned my back against the cold tile wall and closed my eyes, letting the hot water rain down on me. There was another knock, louder this time, and then the door opened. “Avery? That you in here, sweetie?” I frantically shook my head, praying that Grayson would do the right thing.  “Sorry, Kaitlin. It’s just me.” “Oh. Sorry, Grayson. I thought maybe you were Avery.”  “Yeah, I get that a lot,” he teased.

My mom laughed and then sighed heavily. “If you see her after you’re done, tell her I’m looking for her.” “Will do.” The door clicked shut and things got quiet. I stood there for so long that my head started to hurt and I got really dizzy. My knees buckled. Grayson quickly caught me under the arms. “Avery, breathe,” he commanded. I took a breath. As oxygen flooded my lungs, I realized it was probably the first breath I’d taken in minutes. Literally. “Aves,” a low steady voice said. I felt hands on either side of my face. I opened my eyes, and Grayson’s beautiful piercing blue ones were staring down at me from just inches away, taking up my entire field of vision. “You good now?” he asked. I may have been breathing, but I would never be “good” again. I flung my arms around him and began to release gut-wrenching sobs into his chest. 


I always looked at her as sort of a pesky little sister, but that all changed the day my brother dumped her. Why, you ask? Let me put it this way: When a girl lets you be the one to hold her as her entire world falls apart, even though you’re ass naked, it changes the way you see her. The soaking-wet, see-through t-shirt didn’t hurt, either. ...

“You look really nice,” I blurted, unable to hide my surprise. The compliment startled her. She blushed and looked at her feet as she mumbled, “I need to blow my hair dry.” I grinned. “Don’t want to have to explain to anyone how it got wet, eh?” She turned even brighter red but then glared at me. “I just don’t want my hair to freeze.” I laughed as I threw my hands up in surrender and then laughed even harder when she stalked past me into the bathroom. I leaned against the door and watched, curiously, as she dried her hair. There was something oddly fascinating about watching Little Avery Shaw primp. She’d never seemed like such a real girl to me before. She wasn’t so little anymore, either. She caught me staring at her in the mirror, so I quickly said, “I thought dorks were supposed to have bad hair and horrible, frumpy fashion senses.” “Just because I enjoy learning doesn’t mean I’m a dork,” she said, insulted. “Two words for you Aves: science club.” 

This week only, The Avery Shaw Experiment is on sale for just $0.99! Make sure to snag a copy while it's cheap! 
Amazon * iBooks * B&N * Kobo

For more bonus material, teasers, games, and chances to win things like signed books and swag stop by the Facebook event, happening now through Friday.
Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy. 
Connect with Kelly 
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act

Title: The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act
   *Series: The Wicked + The Divine
Author: Kieron Gillen
Illustrator: Jamie McKelvin
Publisher: Image Comics
Pages: Trade Paperback; 144
Recommended Age Group: 16+
Release Date: November 27, 2014
Source: Library
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critically thermonuclear floor-fillers Young Avengers and Phonogram reunite to start a new, ongoing, superhero fantasy with a beautiful, oversized issue. Welcome to The Wicked + The Divine, where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you're immortal, doesn't mean you're going to live forever.

Collects The Wicked + The Divine #1-5.

Hello, new favorite series! I loved this first volume so much that as soon as I finished it, I opened it again and started from the beginning. Mythology, mixed with pop culture, set against the backdrop of our obsession with celebrities? This graphic novel is a thing of beauty. Both figuratively and literally.

Look, I'm going to take a second and tell you some truth. Image Comics has restored my faith in comics. They've rekindled my obsessive following of series that I love. When I came back to the world of comics at the beginning of last year, after a long time spent away, it was a whole new world. There were real portrayals of women. Real portrayals of men, who weren't part of the "capes and tights" set. There were stories that spoke to me, and ate at me. I found a place where women readers were welcomed, and celebrated. Image Comics was my window back to this world, and I can't thank them enough for it. Especially because now I get to devour their backlog.

The Wicked + The Divine has a fabulous premise. Every ninety years the Pantheon is reborn. Twelve Gods. Twelve humans whose lives these reincarnated gods irrevocably change. Two years of being loved, hated, and worshiped before they die off. The fact that this opens up so many options for settings, and ways for these gods to misbehave, has me smitten. After all, what are gods but the rock stars of the past? It only makes sense that in our modern world, they'd be exactly the same thing. Kieron Gillen takes this and runs with it, bringing all sorts of mischief and mayhem into the mix.

Yes friends, I'm addicted. Following Laura, being a part the fandom surrounding the Pantheon, was fascinating. The illustrations by Jamie McKelvie bring to life this vivid, almost gaudy world of glitz, glam, and sex. I was soon lost in this ever-shifting and dangerous world of gods. It was beautiful how Laura's image kept changing, how she kept reinventing herself to appeal to the gods. Always wanting something more than to be a mere mortal, but also afraid of the sheer power of that same wish. The gods themselves were equal parts monstrous and gorgeous. I can't express enough how impressed I was with the characters that McKelvie dreamed up to bring each of them to life. Luci, especially, stole my breath away. A bit light, a bit dark, all kinds of trouble.

I'll be following this series with a manic intensity, I can promise you that! I've already purchased both this volume (since I previously borrowed it from the library) and the second volume. I'm hooked, and I have Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie to blame.



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