Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review + Giveaway: Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Part Time Cowboy
Author: Maisey Yates
Publisher: HQN books
Pages: 400
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Source: Author/Xpresso Book Tours
----------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Mild Violence, sexual situations

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy feisty characters with lots of chemistry.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

A one-time bad girl comes home to small-town Oregon in the first in a sexy, heartfelt new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates…

Sadie Miller isn't expecting any welcome-home parades on her return to Copper Ridge. Least of all from part-time rancher, full-time lawman Eli Garrett. The straight-laced, impossibly hot deputy sheriff glares at her like she's the same teenage hoodlum who fled town ten years ago. But running from her demons has brought Sadie full circle, ready to make a commitment at last. Not to a man, but to a B and B. On Garrett land. Okay, so her plan has a tiny flaw…

Eli works too hard to let a blonde ball of trouble mess up his town. But keeping an eye on Sadie makes it tough to keep his hands off her. And if she's so wrong for him, why does being with her feel so right?
If you lovely readers haven't noticed yet, I adore cowboys and romance. The combination is almost a guarantee to get me to read the book, but when I read the synopsis for Part Time Cowboy I knew it would be something great. I was not disappointed. 

If you enjoy hot chemistry between your characters, this is definitely the book for you. From the moment Sadie returns home to Copper Ridge she can't keep away from the hot sheriff- intentionally or not. While the insta-love isn't my favorite type of romance, I don't feel like this fits into that category perfectly. Insta-lust, absolutely, but the love took some work on both their parts and that's what made it great.

Sadie's past has defined her since she left home and coming back was a chance to face her demons. Eli never left, as Copper Ridge is the only place he calls home, but he has his own demons to deal with. Their chemistry was heartfelt and raw, which in my opinion is the best kind. Maisey Yates does a stellar job creating these characters and incorporating all of their idiosyncrasies into every moment of the book. From Eli's borderline OCD cleanliness to Sadie's love of her silly cat, it was all woven into a wonderfully told story.

I enjoyed the supporting characters as well and I look forward to reading their stories in the future. Small towns tend to have a lot of interesting people and Copper Ridge was no exception. All in all I really enjoyed this and I look forward to more from Yates in the future.






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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd


Happy Monday lovely readers! What better way to spice up the worst day of the work week than with an exciting new spotlight!

Today's post is centered around the lovely Natasha Boyd and her new release, Deep Blue Eternity. I must admit, I am already a big Natasha Boyd fan, so when I heard about this new book I had to get my hands on it right away!

Livvy is on the run. And she’s escaped to the one place nobody will ever find her.
But the isolated cottage isn’t empty. Her refuge is home to a troubled stranger, Tom, there for reasons of his own.
In the intimacy of the abandoned cottage, and the remote wilderness of the island, the electrifying connection between them is impossible to ignore. Both running from their histories and shielding dark secrets, their pasts catch up with them and collide in an unimaginable way.
Deep emotions and powerful chemistry face a painful battle with the tangle of lies, and scars of the past. When the truth emerges, hearts will be shattered.

Add it: Amazon | Booklikes | Goodreads


Are you intrigued yet? If you want more, we've got you covered! Check out this excerpt, scroll to the bottom for a giveaway including $150 gift card and signed copies of the book

He made me feel like such a stupid little girl. He had no idea what it was like for me. None. I wanted to yell at him and slap him, but more than anything, I wanted him not to disapprove of me, and I couldn’t understand why. I’d never cared what anyone thought of me before. In fact, I’d gone out of my way to inspire less than comfortable thoughts in people. It was the way I operated. It was the way I’d survived the last few years in high school.

I realized with a start that I’d begun feeling comforted by his presence. We were building some form of quiet friendship. And the thought that he was disgusted with me caused shame to burn through my gut. But with that came anger. How dare he make me feel this way? Who was he to pass judgment on me? And pulling out what Abby would think had been such a low blow.

I was pacing back and forth, coming up with the words I would hurl at him to get even when I’d caught sight of him through the small kitchen window and stopped dead.

Tom was ripping his shirt off over his head. He flung it angrily, his bare chest heaving. Jesus, he was ripped. Picking the ax back up, ribs arching, he swung it over his head, bringing it down with such force that every muscle and sinew bulged and flexed with the power of it.

I sucked in air, realizing I’d been holding my breath. Emotion rolled off him, the air electrified. Wind I couldn’t feel tossed his hair. It was raw and almost painful to watch. He was part wild animal and part insanely beautiful human.

His body was a blur of motion, and he seemed oblivious to the icy air. A strong working body. A man’s body, not a boy’s. So much man. No muscle unused.

I’d been living with this huge, larger than life, virile male for almost two weeks.

Old fears skittered down my spine.

And then his chest wasn’t just heaving with breath, his whole body was shuddering and curling in on itself. His knees folded, hitting the ground so hard, I winced. His arms wrapped around his middle as if he was trying to hold his body together. It was at once both shockingly strange and also familiar. I knew the kind of feeling that made one’s body do that.

Pain.

The kind of pain that threatened to tear your soul in two.


Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author with a background in marketing and public relations.  Her debut novel Eversea was a finalist in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest for Contemporary Romance and won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers and Island Writer’s Network in coastal South Carolina where she has been a featured speaker on book marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and lives with her husband, two sons and the cast of characters in her head.




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: Two Princes- The Biker and the Billionaire by Victoria Danann


Are you ready for some spicy romance? Check out this gorgeous new cover for Two Princes by Victoria Danann. A billionaire or a biker- which would you choose???


Pre-order Links: Amazon, B&N, itunes, or Kobo


Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle had started to seem impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with ties to The Sons of Sanctuary.

What she wanted was information to prove a proposition. What she didn’t want was to fall for one of the members of the club. Especially since she had set out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.

Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him.

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his club, The Sons of Sanctuary, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his Jeep at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find the guy who was walking around with his face.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.

Victoria Danann

Victoria Danann is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of The Knights of Black Swan, which has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.
Victoria writes cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. She is making her debut into contemporary romance with publication of the SUMMER FIRE ultimate romance collection anthology. It contains a novella intro to the Sons of Sanctuary MC series. The first full novel of the series will be released June 16, 2015.

Contact Victoria at: Website Facebook Twitter, or Goodreads



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: Grift (A Neon Noir) by Jason Mosberg


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Grift (A Neon Noir)
Author: Jason Mosberg
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Ebook; 234
Release Date: March 4, 2015
Source: Author
----------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Violence; Adult Language

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who like fast paced, well-written stories with plenty of action.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.
Whew. Let me tell you, this is one fast-paced story. I originally opened Grift with the intention of reading a bit before bed. Bad choice. It didn't take long for me to realize that I was completely wrapped up in Piper's life. I was utterly mesmerized by the idea of a group of teenagers living on the money from successful cons. Who wouldn't be? To live in a penthouse sweet of one of the most tempting cities in the world? Well, that's pretty amazing. To live there because you're a successful con artist at the age of 17? Even more amazing.

It helped things along that I really liked Piper's character. She was so full of life, and the fierce love that she had for her sister made my heart happy. While I didn't always agree with Piper's life choices, her want to give her sister a better life made it more palatable for me. Honestly, I can't say anything but good things about all the characters in Grift. They each have their own vivid, likable personalities. Couple that with their unique con artist abilities, and you have the recipe for a story that's hard to put down.

I think my favorite part overall though was the fact that there wasn't too much romance bugging up the works in this story. True to its glittering setting, this is the story that never sleeps. Action abounds, twists are around every corner, and Mosberg creates the perfect amount of tension to keep you reading on. I had nothing but love for the little bit of romance that did make a debut. I'm just happy it didn't keep Piper from being her own, completely amazing person.

Grift gets a solid four stars from this reader. It held all the things I needed to be completely entertained from beginning to end. I'm honestly hoping there's more coming.



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, March 18, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode


Welcome to the middle of another week, friends. I'm thrilled that it's been busier around HDB this month. Bringing you fun content is what we love to do! So, without further ado, let's get to our next book spotlight. This time Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode is just waiting for you to snatch it up!

Goodreads | Amazon
Treena can’t wait for Rating Day. Her high score will mean a life of luxury, showing the world that she’s a valuable member of society, not a pathetic waste of space. It won’t hurt her chances with her top-Rated boyfriend, either. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life—and boyfriend—back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone seems to want her dead. And then there’s the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. They must band together if they are to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within Treena’s heart.


Does this perhaps sound like something up your alley? Awesome! Click those lovely links below the book cover and get your book on. Then, make sure you read through the Q&A below and go enter to win a Kindle! Happy Wednesday.


Q: Will you tell us about Numbers Game?

A: Absolutely! In the New Order Republic of America, 16-year-olds are given a Rating, a number that encompasses what they’re worth to society. It determines their career, living conditions, and potential partners. This is the story of Treena, who gets a different Rating than the one she earned. She decides to fight for what is rightfully hers, determined to get her boyfriend back in the process.

Meanwhile, she meets Vance, a mysterious prisoner-turned-soldier who has his own agenda. When someone tries to kill Treena—twice—they uncover a dark conspiracy that risks much more than Treena’s Rating.


Q: Great. You probably get this question a lot, but the concept is so unique that I have to ask—where did you get the idea for Numbers Game?

A: I love this question! My husband sent me to the bank to finalize the loan on the truck he was buying. I looked at my credit score and thought how strange it was that one number was supposed to incorporate everything about me—my purchase history, how reliable I’d been, whether they could trust me to make payments, that sort of thing. And then I thought how strange it was, that we as citizens are so trusting of the accuracy of that little number, and how important it is in our lives. It spiraled from there—what is someone was manipulating the numbers? What if the number included appearance and intelligence rather than just financial history? It didn’t take long for the plot to unfold in my mind.


Q: What type of reader would like this book?

A: I tell people that it’s like a thriller version of The Scarlet Letter, but set in the future. With bombs. And kissing. Dystopian fans who like Divergent, Hunger Games, and Matched would love it.


Q: Who is your favorite character and why?

A: At first, Tali was my favorite. She knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t put up with anything. But now that the book is done, I think Vance has overtaken her as my favorite. The way he sees the world and struggles to survive while torn between two worlds really resonates with me.


Q: What was your favorite part of the writing process? What was the hardest?

A: I really enjoyed taking an idea and running with it. Once I had the world solidified in my head, it was fun to explore all the different aspects of it—political, social, financial, emotional, etc. I wrote myself into a dozen corners because I was just having too much fun.

The hardest part? Probably the time it took to finish it. When I began writing Numbers Game in 2012, I was also juggling a journalism career and three kids, and then my nonfiction book was accepted for publication, so that took all my remaining hours. When my fourth child was born, everything came to a screeching halt for a while. It wasn’t until Numbers Game won first place in a statewide writing contest in that I decided to buckle down and get serious with it.


Q: Why did you decide to make it a series instead of a stand-alone book?

A: You know how some authors say that their characters grab hold of the story and steer it in a different direction without their permission? That’s kind of what happened here. It just couldn’t end with this book. There was so much more that needed to be explored. Besides, Treena had a little more growing to do, and I think you’ll love the person that she becomes.


Q: Thanks for joining us. Where can we find out more?

A: Visit my website at www.AuthorRebeccaRode.com or sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bdwUKL. I give away free stuff sometimes, if you’re into that type of thing. But remember, Numbers Game is only discounted on Amazon for a few days, so you may want to snatch it up quick.

REBECCA RODE is an award-winning author, journalist, and mother of four. She is the author of the YA dystopian novel, NUMBERS GAME, and the inspirational book, HOW TO HAVE PEACE WHEN YOU'RE FALLING TO PIECES. She also writes for Deseret News, KSL.com, FamilyShare, and Provo Daily Herald. However, her true love is writing for teenagers. She enjoys traveling, reading, and martial arts, and she has a ridiculous addiction to chocolate-banana shakes. Visit her atwww.AuthorRebeccaRode.com.





Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School by Jen Calonita


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School
   *Series: Fairy Tale Reform School #1
Author: Jen Calonita
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: Hardcover; 256
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: NetGalley
------------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Young readers who love a good fairy tale and are looking for something different and fun.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Would you send a villain to do a hero's job? An exciting new twisted fairy tale series from award-winning author Jen Calonita.

Full of regret, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Flora, has founded the Fairy Tale Reform School with the mission of turning the wicked and criminally mischievous into upstanding members of Enchantasia.

Impish, sassy 12-year-old Gilly has a history of petty theft and she's not too sorry about it. When she lifts a hair clip, she gets tossed in reform school-for at least three months. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its sweet mission. There's a battle brewing and she starts to wonder: can a villain really change?

As I expected, this book was a ton of fun to read! While the age group this book is aimed at will probably love it the most, there's a lot here to love for us older readers as well. Imagine a reform school for the villainous. A magical place filled with Pegasus riding classes and mermaid teachers. If you're a fan of fairy tale retellings, this story will definitely make you smile.

Flunked is packed to the brim will all sorts of lovable, and maybe even slightly evil, misfits. Gilly is our main character, and she fits in perfectly. Not quite a villain, but not exactly the picture of a model citizen either. I liked Gilly a lot. Kind, resourceful, and loyal to her family no matter what. Unfortunately, her love of her family is exactly what lands her in Fairy Tale Reform School. It raises the question, is evil really evil if there is reason for the crime? Once she stepped foot into FTRS, and I met the rest of the characters, I was hooked.

The one downside to this story is that there isn't much time for character development. It's likely that won't matter to the middle grade readers that this story is aimed at, but I craved more insight into the amazing characters populating this story. There were so many nods to the stories that I grew up loving. I giggled more than once at the antics Gilly and her friends were up to.

Still, this story is fast paced and well written, so it's hard not to fall in love. I read it through from beginning to end in about an hour, and I can't wait for more. I know this is the first in a series, and I'm honestly excited about it. I look forward to much more from Jen Calonita and her magical reform school.




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, March 15, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School by Jen Calonita


Today's spotlight post is one that I'm extremely excited about! I fell in love with the idea of Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School the moment that I saw the synopsis. Fairy tale retellings are some of my favorite stories, and this one looked like a ton of fun. I hope you're ready!

Amazon | B&N | BAM |!ndigo | IndieBound
OUR MISSION:

To turn WICKED DELINQUENTS
and FORMER VILLAINS
into FUTURE HEROES

Gilly wouldn’t call herself wicked exactly…but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run- down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).

Until she gets caught.

Gilly’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School- where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there’s more to this school than its heroic mission. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

Doesn't this sound fun? As someone who has already had the pleasure of reading it, I can tell you that it most definitely is. If you don't believe me, try this excerpt on for size. Then stop on over and take this quiz for fun, and don't forget to add Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School to your reading list!


There’s a boy up there, standing on the crystal chandelier! He has slightly curly blond hair and is wearing a uniform—­a navy sweater vest over a white shirt with khaki pants—­but his boots are muddy. He’s stepping on priceless crystals with cruddy boots? Is he insane?

“Jax! What are you doing up there?” Kayla whispers heatedly.

“I’m cleaning the crystal for Flora,” Jax says and rolls his eyes. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m making

a break for it.”

Kayla applauds. “Yay! This time I know you can do it.”

I shade my eyes from the light bursting through the stained-­glass window next to the chandelier Jax is perched on. “Busting out? Why?” I ask Kayla. “I thought you said this place was cool.”

Jax laughs loudly and looks at me. I feel slightly stunned. I’ve never seen violet eyes before. “FTRS was fun for a while, but strange things have started happening and I don’t want to be here when something bad goes down.”

Strange things? What kind of strange things? Why does Kayla suddenly look pale?

“He’s exaggerating,” Kayla tells me, but she doesn’t sound convincing.

Drip. Whatever Jax is holding is leaking. Kayla and I move out of the way so we don’t get wet. “Grease,” Jax explains to me. “It lubes the window.” He swings the chandelier, and as it nears the window, he uses a fork to try to pry the window open. “A few more tries and I’ll have it.”

“Then what are you going to do, genius?” I ask. “You’re two stories up.”

Jax’s eyes gleam. “I’ve jumped from higher spots before.”

“It’s true,” Kayla says to me. “Jax once jumped from the gym to the dining hall turret. That was three stories up. We call him the Escape Artist. One time he even managed to break into Azalea and Dahlia’s rooms and borrowed their keys to the indoor pool so the whole dorm could take a midnight swim.”

“Impressive,” I tell him. “And I thought I was good at tricking obnoxious royals.”

“She stole a dragon’s tooth clip from one this morning,” Kayla fills him in.

“Nice,” Jax says. “Your first pull?”

“No, I’ve been doing it for a while,” I brag.

“Me too,” Jax says. “My father is a farmer. You can only get so far trading vegetables. I needed to kick things up a notch.”

For some reason, I don’t think any of us are going to make the transformation Headmistress Flora is looking for. “Why do you want to break out so bad?”

“I’ve got places to see, and Enchantasia isn’t one of them.” Jax swings the chandelier so hard the crystals clang together. The window latch pops open, and I watch Jax leap from the chandelier to the tiny window ledge. I’m in awe. Jax looks down at us smugly before pushing open the window. “Are you sure you two don’t want to join me?”

“There’s no time for us,” Kayla says. “Get out of here. Wait!” Her eyes widen. “You deactivated the alarm on the window, right?”

“There isn’t one,” Jax insists. “If there was, I wouldn’t be able to do this.” But when Jax lifts the window, we hear:

EEEEEE! EEEE! EEEE! Unauthorized exit! Unauthorized exit!
The shrieking sound is so intense that Kayla and I cover our ears. Within seconds, Flora is out of her office and running toward us.

Swoosh!

I feel something brush past me and I whirl around. When I look up at Jax again, a large, muscular man with a long mane of hair is hanging on to the window ledge, his furry hands pulling Jax back by his shirt. How did the man get up there without a ladder?

“Mr. Jax,” the man says in a low growl, “we really must stop meeting like this.”

Jen Calonita is the author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series and other books like Sleepaway Girls and Summer State of Mind, but Fairy Tale Reform School is her first middle grade series. She rules Long Island, New York with husband Mike, princes Tyler and Dylan, and Chihuahua Captain Jack Sparrow, but the only castle she’d ever want to live in is Cinderella’s at Disney World. She’d love for you to drop her a line at jencalonitaonline.com or keep the fairy tale going at http://books.sourcebooks.com/enchantasia/

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Grift by Jason Mosberg

Go ahead, celebrate. It's almost Friday! If there's one thing I love about Thursday, it's knowing that the weekend is right around the bend. 

Today's delightful post is centered around Jason Mosberg and his book, Grift. I must admit, when Jason first contacted me I was instantly intrigued by this story! I'm fairly certain you will be too, but let's give you a chance to find out, shall we? 


Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high-class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Goodreads

Sound like something up your alley? Intrigued, and wanting more? We've got you covered! Check out this excerpt, scroll to the bottom for a giveaway, and don't forget to add Grift to your reading list!
 

CHAPTER ONE – The Strip    

 
“How does this work?”

For the first time, I look directly into his eyes. It’s hard to make eye contact in the poorly lit Riviera Hotel and Casino. Hard to make eye contact anywhere in Las Vegas. Too dim in the casinos, too bright in the sun.

He seems anxious. Maybe because he’s out of his element. Or maybe because he’s not good with women. I give him a warm smile to loosen him up.

“Well, unless you want me here in the casino, we start by getting a room.”

He forces a one-syllable laugh.

“What’s your name?”

“Mark.”

At the mention of his name, I do everything possible to avoid smiling. I heard somewhere that it takes 10 muscles in your face to smile and 30 to frown. How many does it take to keep from smiling?

“Madeline, right?”

I nod. But Madeline’s not my name. Piper’s my name. I have a roster of about eight fake names, but I always circle back to Madeline. My mother’s name.

Mark and I wander over to the front desk. One room costs 40 bucks. On Friday and Saturday nights, a room here, booked the day of, might cost over two or three hundred. But on some random Tuesday? They just want to get you in the casino.

He fumbles for his wallet, but I insist.

He seems like a gentleman. Lets me into the elevator first. Opens the door for me. Doesn’t gawk at me. I wonder if this gentleman has a wife at home in Indiana or Rhode Island or Arizona or wherever he’s from. 

Once I close the door to the hotel room, he slides his arms around my waist.

“There’s one rule I have.”

“No kissing?”

I giggle what I consider a sexy-giggle. “No. That depends on how things go. I kiss when I want to kiss.”

“So what’s the rule?”

“I always collect the money first.”

“Oh. Of course.” Mark draws his wallet. He counts out 15 crisp hundred-dollar bills. In this age, people rarely pay for anything with this much cash unless it’s scandalous. Drugs. Gambling. Sex.

The cash never stops flowing in Vegas.

“Thank you.”

He hasn’t inhaled in a few seconds. Or blinked. He’s waiting to ask me something.

“Will you dance for me?”

Damn it. There it is.

Dance means strip. No one pays an escort to do the funky chicken fully clothed.

I’m not really in the mood to slowly remove layers of clothing while dancing, but the request gives me a quick in for booze. I glance at the ground and use my most innocent voice. “Sure, but I might need some champagne then.”

After one glass of champagne, I dance. I don’t enjoy doing it, but it’s not the worst. It’s slow. Tasteful. He’s not expecting me to shake my ass in his face. He can get that over at the Pussycat Lounge for $35. He wants to see class. That’s what he’s paying for. Class.

Fifteen minutes of slow, rhythmic swaying pass. Feels like fifty minutes to me. Afterwards, I stand in my bra and underwear, undergarments that cost twice as much as the room. His eyes have grown bigger and his looks longer. The word gentleman no longer comes to mind.

I pour myself another glass of champagne. After a few sips, I rub my head and grimace.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, just…didn’t eat dinner. Reminds me of this time a couple years ago when I was on a field trip with my class. Me and my friends snuck out and stole a couple bottles of wine from this drug store. One of my friends…well she was obsessed with grunge music. You know, the 90’s, Nirvana and…well, anyway so we hid the bottles in her baggy jeans and flannel shirt. But none of us had eaten dinner, so of course we all ended up getting sick.”

He takes the bait.

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen.”

His jaw drops. As if his chin instantly gained five pounds.

“You’re 17 years old?”

“I’ll be 18 in two months.”

A lie. I’ll be 18 in more like ten months. For a moment, it looks like he’s changing his mind, but they never change their mind.

As he puts his hands on me, I move to my purse.

“I’ll feel better if I take my medicine.” I pull out some prescription pills. They wash down like two little barrels going over a waterfall of champagne.

His impatience grows. He places his hand on my shoulder. I want to smack his hand away, but I have to pretend his fingers don’t feel reptilian against my skin. Pretend his reaction to my being 17 years old doesn’t make me want to puke on him.

I put my hands on his arm, but then I reel back. He sees then that I’m ill.

“Hey. Are you sure you’re okay?”

I try to stand. But I can’t. I collapse on the couch.

He rushes over to me, shakes me a few times.

“Madeline! Madeline!”

A driblet of saliva runs down my lip to my chin. It tickles like crazy.

He shakes me a few more times but realizes this girl is not going to wake up.

As soon as the door closes, I spring to my feet. I want to get out of the suite ASAP. Just in case the guy experiences a sudden burst of conscience. They never do, but I still have my rules.

I walk past the elevator to the stairwell, but I don’t walk down. I walk up four flights. A different key card I had in my purse unlocks the door to room 1216.

On the bed sits the bag I left. I dump out the items: denim overalls I plan to throw over my dress, an extra-baggy hooded sweatshirt, and a baseball cap with a built-in red ponytail wig.

Thirty seconds later down the elevator rides an inconspicuous tomboy.

Fairly smooth, I think to myself as the elevator descends. I wasn’t in the mood to dance, so that was a drag, but at least he hadn’t insisted on paying for the room. If he had, then his card would have been on file with the hotel, and he’d have been much less likely to flee. In which case, I would have needed to use a different variation of the con. I’ve used dozens of variations.

I scan the lobby for the mark, but even if he were there, he probably wouldn’t recognize me. Now I take a moment to smile at the coincidence of his name.

Chances are Mark wouldn’t have stuck around. So you might think the $80 I spent on the two rooms went to waste. But it’s worth it. Worth it for that one time you get seen.

The $80 isn’t the only money that comes out of the $1,500 I just scored. $150 goes to the spotter, who in this case is a fat man named Randy who played Single A professional baseball before he began working as a telephone representative for an escort service called First Class. And of the $1,270 that’s left over, 90% goes to Max. I’m sure 90% seems like a lot, but I owe everything to Max. Compared to everything, 90% doesn’t seem too bad.

From the lobby, I walk outside, hitting the dry desert air just as the afternoon sun disappears below the towers of Circus-Circus. I head south on The Strip – I’ve got another appointment at 7:00.

 

Jason Mosberg lives in Los Angeles where he works as a screenwriter. He has optioned several feature screenplays to independent financiers. He wrote his first novel   Grift while staying in cheap hotel rooms in Las Vegas. When he’s not writing, Jason can be found playing soccer, walking, and over analyzing everything.Having grown up in Delaware, Jason attended Wake Forest University before he lit out for the west coast. His top five TV shows of all time are The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, and Twin Peaks. His one vice is claw machines. On the book side, he is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger.
Find him: Twitter | Facebook
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka


Media Type: Ebook
Title: As Red As Blood
   * Series: The Snow White Trilogy #1
Author: Salla Simukka | Owen Witesman (Translator)
Publisher: Skyscape - Reprint Edition
Pages: Ebook; 274
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Source: Amazon (Purchased)
=========================================
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are looking for a more action based story with roots in fairy tales.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

So let's call Lumikki Andersson what she rightfully is, shall we? She's a bad-ass. Seriously. When I read the synopsis for this book I was definitely hoping for an action packed story. For something raw and intriguing. While I didn't exactly get everything that I was waiting for, I did fall unexpectedly in love with Lumikki's character. This isn't a girl who lets others take advantage of her. Oh, no. She's quick-thinking, cunning and all around interesting. If there's one thing I can take away from this book, it's that I'd follow Lumikki into danger any day.

Her fellow characters, on the other hand, I think I could have done without. I actually did a dual-read of this book. Half the time I was listening to it on audio, and the other half of the time I was reading the ebook. Sometimes an audio is a saving grace for me when I'm not exactly in love with a story. The narrator has the opportunity to make or break things for me. In this case, both felt about the same. Lumikki's so called "friends" were exactly what you'd expected the rich to be. Bratty, self-involved, and really tough to like. I never felt a true connection between them and Lumikki, and so I couldn't really invest myself in her willingness to put everything on the line for them.

Which brings me to the story itself. As Red As Blood fell in middle ground territory for me. While there were definitely parts I enjoyed, it never took me over the top. When things were moving quickly, I'd find myself start to ease into the story. The entire time that Lumikki was in the heart of the action, I was absolutely ready for more. Then things would pan to the other characters, or a flash back would sneak its way in, and I was once again just waiting for more action. The fast paced portions felt the most vivid, the most well fleshed out, and I craved more.

It's a definite possibility that the next book in this series will have more of the forward movement I wanted. Truth be told, I liked Lumikki enough that I'd be willing to give the sequel a chance. Although this wasn't my favorite read of the year, there's quite a bit in As Red As Blood that holds promise. I'd say giving it a shot if it's on your TBR.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review and Tour: Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey


Media Type: ebook
Title: Our Dried Voices
Author: Greg Hickey
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Pages: Paperback; 234
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Source: Author/PUYB
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories about a dire future for humanity with a hopeful twist.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

In 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity. Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence. With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue his colony.

I unintentionally had a theme this week for my reviews: a dire future for society. Greg Hickey presents the new humanity in an interesting way, slowly but surely filling the reader in on what is really going on. I'll admit, this isn't my favorite type of story-line but it wasn't bad either.

Samuel was an interesting character in that we are viewing the world through his eyes. This colony is all he has ever known and life is a monotonous cycle each and every day, until one day that changes. I did get a bit frustrated with the story as it was hard from me to accept that Samuel was the only person to question what was happening. I understand that the idea Hickey was portraying was a futuristic society devoid of normal human behavior but it just frustrated me more than it was interesting.

 Our Dried Voices was a well thought out story, it just wasn't for me. I would recommend it to lovers of dystopian sci-fi as this was definitely a new take on the genre and brought about a new perspective.






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.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: Believers- Truth in Deception by Tamara D. Taylor

Media Type: ebook (ARC)
Title: Believers: Truth in Deception
*Series: Believers Book 1
Author: Tamara D. Taylor
Publisher: Self
Pages: Paperback; 330
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Source: Author/PUYB
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories about a dire future and who enjoy some religious aspects to their books.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

Mary lives in a world of the future where an anti aging drug has torn society apart, creating an insurmountable divide between the wealthy and the poor. Her life is thrown sideways after she receives an unsolicited promotion at work, which leaves her as assistant to one of the most notorious playboys of the wealthy elite.

Mary struggles to find solid footing in a world that drastically conflicts with her humble upbringing. Her moral compass is tested as she finds herself falling in love with a man she knows she should not trust, compromising her relationship with her childhood sweetheart.

After her life is threatened, she fears for her safety and that of her family. Will she be able to guard her own secrets to prevent even further danger? Will death be the consequence of falling in love with the wrong man?
I have a weakness for books about a dire future for our world. The idea that we, as a society, are causing our own demise fascinates me on a real and terrifying level. Tamara Taylor does an amazing job building this future world. Classism, fear and power dictate a cruel way of life for most of the population and most of them would do anything to get their hands on the drug that makes them stop aging.

I enjoyed Mary as a character and her mistrust of "the system". Even her motion sickness really helped shape her as someone normal who gets thrown into extraordinary circumstances. I could have used a little more background on her family and friends but there was enough information to get a feel for where she came from and what she stood for.

The religious parts of the book weren't overwhelming, but they were definitely prominent in the story. If you shy away from books with religion, I would recommend giving this a shot anyway because while it is a theme it is not what I would call preachy.

What kept this from being a 5 for me was the villain. I figured out pretty early on what was happening and that ruined it a bit for me. Overall, it was a nice build to a climactic ending and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I look forward to more from this series!





About the Author

Tamara D.Taylor was born and raised in the East Bay of California until she moved to Omaha, Nebraska to attend Creighton University. Today, Tamara still resides in Nebraska where she and her husband, John, are raising their five young children.

A life long lover of all forms of the written word, Tamara is an avid reader, and has been writing short stories and poetry since elementary school. After watching her son struggle with succeeding in school, she decided to finally write the novel she had been thinking about for years in an effort to show her son that no dream is too big to achieve.

Her latest book is the YA, Believers: Truth in Deception.


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.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails