Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Searching for Always" by Jennifer Probst - Release Day Blitz and Giveaway

 

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Today we are celebrating the release of SEARCHING FOR ALWAYS by Jennifer Probst. This is the 4th book in the Searching For series and it is published by Gallery Books. Check out the teaser and giveaway below.

SearchingforAlways
 

SEARCHING FOR ALWAYS Synopsis:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer Probst sparks a blissful mind-body connection as her “sexy, satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews) new series continues! She’s an expert in helping others de-stress, but Arilyn Meadows is running on fumes. Along with her job counseling singles seeking soul mates at the Kinnections agency in Verily, New York, she’s a yoga teacher, animal shelter volunteer, anger management therapist, and helping hand to her beloved grandfather. No time to find Mr. Right—but after discovering her yogi boyfriend in a compromising asana, Arilyn would rather dog-sit for her honeymooning friend Kate than risk her heart on another downward dog. And when police officer Stone Petty—radiating masculinity and bad-boy attitude—is sent to her for mandatory lessons in cooling off when the job gets too hot, Arilyn vows to ignore his seductive glances and sexy grin. But there’s no halting their sizzling flirtation—a red-hot, high-speed chase that’s breaking all the limits.  

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst - Bio: Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: "Captive" by Brighton Walsh


He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him. Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen. Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own. But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

Thank you to St. Martin's Griffin for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Did I like this book?

You know, I wasn't too sure if I would like this book, simply based on the premise.  The whole falling-for-your-captor scenario can be hard to pull off, and many times it comes across as plain unbelievable to me.  I was sceptical, but because I'd heard rave reviews for this author, I thought "Captive" could be worth a shot. And despite a few problems I had with the book overall, I ended up being pleasantly surprised with how much I did enjoy it.  I was able to empathize with both Madison and Ghost, and Walsh seemed to easily pull me into both their heads and their world.

I really liked that there was no immediate attraction between the two main characters.  Instalust in this case would probably have me throwing the book at the wall!  Madison was petrified of Ghost at first, and rightly so.  I thought this initial introduction of characters and their situations to the reader as well as each other was quite well done.  However, I did think that the romance between them developed a bit too quickly, and that is one of my (few) gripes.  I would have liked to see a bit more tension leading up to that first kiss.

My other gripe is with the ending.  I thought things were tied up a bit too neatly, and I honestly didn't believe the villain's motivations.  I think a bit more background was needed for me to really buy into why the villain resorted to such drastic means, as well as a bit more information surrounding the whole kidnapping.  I don't know if I missed something there, but I was left a bit confused.

Will you like this book?

Well, I think if you like New Adult as much as I do, you will probably like this book.  I loved the excitement, danger, and suspense that was added to this story in addition to the romance, and I think those things make this book/series stand out from some of the others.

Will I read more by this author?

Already I have "Exposed" on my TBR, and I can't wait to dig in!  Riley was introduced briefly in "Captive" and I have to say that I'm intrigued by him.  It will be interesting to see where Walsh takes this series in the future.

My rating:  3.5 stars 


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cover Reveal plus Excerpt: "Heart Shaped Hack" by Tracey Garvis Graves








When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.





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© 2015 Tracey Garvis Graves
Heart-Shaped Hack
CHAPTER ONE



“The babies are going to starve,” Helena said.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Kate replied. “No one is going to starve, least of all the babies.” But her pinched expression and the way she was jabbing at the keyboard as she refreshed the donations page on their website said otherwise. For the first time in the sixteen months since Kate had left her position as a corporate attorney to open the food pantry, she faced the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away. She couldn’t stand the thought of letting down her regulars, especially the young mother of three who relied on the pantry to feed them.
The problem was that Kate’s nonprofit organization was not the only one in Minneapolis that needed help. Tomorrow was the first of September, and everyone was trying to stockpile whatever resources they could before they headed into the colder months.
“Let’s see,” Helena said. “We could rob a bank. We could pawn our valuables. You could sell your body on a street corner.”
Despite their dire circumstances, Kate cracked a smile. Helena had walked through the front door of the food pantry shortly after Kate opened and said, “I’m sixty-five, and they’re forcing me to retire from my job at the insurance company. My husband retired two years ago, and now he’s home all day. That’s too much togetherness for us. I have to find something to do outside the house, and you wouldn’t have to pay me much.” Kate hired her on the spot and had never regretted it.
She swiveled her chair toward Helena. “Why am I always the one who has to sell her body? Why can’t you sell yours?”
“Who do you think is going to bring in more money? A gray-haired grandmother of seven, or a willowy twenty-nine-year-old beauty? It’s a no-brainer.”
It was hard to argue with logic like that.
Kate had been so determined not to let down their clients that she’d resorted to begging her ex-boyfriend Stuart—who worked as the executive producer on an hour-long talk show on the local ABC station—to let her appeal to the public during the afternoon broadcast.
“Do you know how hard it is for me to be around you, Kate?” Stuart said when he received her call. “Do you ever think of that?”
“Of course I do. But this is really important to me.”
“I used to be really important to you.” 
Kate remained silent. They’d been through this before.
He sighed in defeat. “Come in tomorrow. I’ll squeeze you in after the cooking segment.”
“Thanks, Stuart.”
The skirt had been Helena’s idea. “We need to do whatever we can to grab viewers’ attention.” 
“You mean I need to do whatever I can.” 
“Of course I mean you. You have great legs.”


On the day of the broadcast when Helena arrived at the food pantry, Kate said, “I don’t remember this skirt being quite so short. I’m actually a little worried about the type of viewer I might attract with it.” She tugged on the hem, pulled out her desk chair, sat down, and crossed her legs. “Can you see anything?”
 “You’ll be fine unless you decide to recross your legs in the middle of the segment like Sharon Stone did in that one movie.”  
“I can assure you I will not be doing that. The skirt is as far as I’m willing to go. I draw the line at flashing people, not even for the babies.”
Kate had paired the black-and-white houndstooth skirt with a black short-sleeve top and her favorite black heels. When she arrived at the TV studio, she ducked into the bathroom to check her teeth for wandering lipstick. Before she left the food pantry she’d applied a raspberry lip stain that Helena claimed looked stunning on her. That morning she’d curled her long dark hair and then brushed through the curls with her fingers so they draped across her shoulders and down her back in loose waves. She’d used plenty of mascara to play up her brown eyes. The extra primping made her feel a little like she was standing on a street corner, but she banished those thoughts. At this point, they needed all the help they could get.
After Stuart snaked the mic up the back of her top, his hands lingering on her skin in a way that made Kate feel sad, he positioned her on a stool and told her to wait for his signal. She kept her legs tightly crossed, and when the light on the camera turned red, he pointed at her and she began to speak.
“Good afternoon. My name is Kate Watts, and I’m the executive director of the Main Street Food Pantry. As we head into the winter months, our needs—and those of all local food pantries—will be greater than ever.”  Kate stared into the camera, imagining she was speaking directly to anyone who might have the means to help them.
“No child should ever have to go hungry, and many of our local residents depend on the food pantry to feed their families. I’m here today to personally appeal to you should you have the ability to help us in any way. The families we assist, and especially the children, depend on your generosity more than you could ever imagine. Thank you.” She ended the short segment with the food pantry’s telephone number and street address, and when Stuart gave her the all clear, she reached under her shirt for the microphone and handed it back to him.
“Thanks, Stuart,” she said, giving him a quick hug. “I really appreciate this.” 
“Sure,” he said, looking over her shoulder as if there was something very interesting across the room. “Take care, Kate.”


That was yesterday, and so far only a few additional donations had trickled in. She and Helena spent the rest of the afternoon making calls to local churches and schools to set up additional food drives while continuing to monitor the donations page. Finally, at a little before three, Kate went into the back room to recount their inventory. It was the end of the month and they were down to their last cases of infant formula and baby food. Almost all of the canned vegetables had been depleted, and they were completely out of peanut butter and soup. If it was this bad now, Kate didn’t want to think about what might happen when budgets were stretched even thinner by holiday spending. Dejected, she was sitting on the floor, clipboard in hand, when Helena burst into the back room.
“I ran after him,” she said, gasping for breath. “But he was too fast. Boy am I out of shape.”
“Who did you run after?” 
Helena tossed a brown paper bag to Kate and leaned over, resting her hands on her knees as she took in giant gulps of air.
“The man who dropped off the money. Seriously, I may need supplemental oxygen over here.”
Money?
Kate looked into the bag and blinked several times. “Did you lock the front door?”
“Yes.”
She turned the bag upside down and watched in disbelief as hundred-dollar bills rained down on the concrete floor. She counted it quickly. “There’s a thousand dollars here.”
Their website listed four levels for donations with amounts ranging from ten to one hundred dollars. There were higher amounts for corporations, but this was the largest donation they’d ever received from one person, and it was more than enough to replenish their shelves. Kate was already picturing herself pushing a giant cart through Costco. “Did he leave his name?”
“No. He walked up to my desk and said, “Give this to Katie. He must have seen you on TV yesterday.”
“Young? Old?” Rich?
“Young. Early thirties, maybe? Tall. Blondish-brown hair. He was in a real hurry to leave. I chased him out the door, but he jumped into the driver’s seat of an old blue car.” 
“An old car? Are you sure?”
“I think it was old. It didn’t look like any car I’ve ever seen. It had stripes on the hood. And then he burned rubber.”
 “Why would someone who drives an old car drop off a bag full of money?”

“I have no idea. But whatever the reason, he just saved us.”










Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, and Cherish
Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: "Breathe, Annie, Breathe" by Miranda Kinneally

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race. But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line. 
"Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You
Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for the free review copy in exchange for my honest review!
Did I like this book?
Once I picked this one up, I had a hard time putting it down.  I'm currently training to do a 10km run, and even though that's nowhere near a marathon, I felt a kinship with Annie from the very first page.  Like Annie, I've always hated running, and no matter how many times I've tried to run, I've never been any good at it.  Unlike Annie, I'm not doing it to honour anyone's memory, it's more for myself, so maybe that's why she seemed to be more motivated than I am most days, haha!

So while I felt immediately connected with Annie due to our mutual dislike of running, my respect for her as a character grew throughout the course of the book.  She goes through a lot, and it all felt real to me, which is something I always appreciate in a story.

There were some other great characters here, and I realize some of them have been introduced in Kenneally's previous books, but I didn't feel lost or confused about any of them - this can definitely be read as a standalone.

Jeremiah...hmmm, not really sure what I think of him.  Okay, maybe I'll sum it up like this: I liked him, and I loved how he was so patient and supportive of Annie, but I feel like I could have stood to learn a bit more about him.  And the poor guy, the bar was set pretty high, what with his competition being a ghost and all.

Which brings me to Kyle.  Gah, Kinneally slayed me with the descriptions of Annie's relationship with him!  I had that hard lump in my throat a few times while reading, I just felt so sorry for what both of them had lost.  

Will you like this book?

I think Kinneally fans will definitely want to read this book, but even if you've never read any other books in this series, don't hesitate to pick this one up.  I really enjoyed it and I think you will too!

Will I read more by this author?

Absolutely!  I already have "Jesse's Girl" waiting for me next - can't wait, I've heard so many good things! - and I'll probably be going back to read Kinneally's entire backlist in the near future!

My rating:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"The Offer" by Karina Halle - Release Day Blitz!!!



She thinks he's an arrogant playboy.
He thinks she's an uptight prude.
But he's about to make her an offer she can't refuse.

Nicola Price used to have it all – a great career, the perfect boyfriend, an excessive shoe collection and an apartment in one of San Francisco’s best neighborhoods. But when she gets knocked up and her asshat boyfriend leaves her high and dry, Nicola’s perfectly crafted world comes tumbling down. And stays that way.

Now, Nicola is the proud single mom to a five-year old daughter and living a giant lie. She can barely afford their ghetto apartment and all the men she dates run when they hear she comes with a child. She’s struggling and scared – and nowhere near where she thought she’d be at age thirty-one.

Her saving grace comes in the form of a tall, handsome and wealthy Scotsman Bram McGregor, the older brother of her friend Linden. Bram understands a thing or two about pride, so when tragic circumstances place Nicola at rock bottom, he offers them a place to live in the apartment complex he owns. It’s pretty much the perfect deal, so as long as she doesn’t mind living beside Bram, a man that, despite his generosity, seems to antagonize her at every turn.

But nothing in life is free and as Nicola gets her feet back on the ground, she discovers that the enigmatic playboy may end up costing her more than she thought.

She might just lose her heart.

                                               Those McGregor brothers are nothing but trouble...

Buy Links:








EXCERPT


When reality starts to fade in a bit, I find myself being walked to the door of my apartment building, my arms draped over both Kayla and Steph. We go up the stairs and now I’m standing in front of my door, wobbling back and forth, trying my hardest to look as sober as possible.
Steph goes to knock on the door but it’s already open. I guess we are being loud, giggling, in the hallway.
Bram looks at the three of us and my God is he a sight for sore eyes.
“We brought her home,” Steph says, motioning with her hand for Bram to get out of the way, “your shift is over.”
“No,” I tell them as they shuffle me inside. “He can stay.”
I know the three of them are exchanging a look over my head.
“I’ll make sure she goes to bed,” Bram explains. “No funny business, I swear.”
“Pinky swear?” Steph says and I turn to see her holding out her pinky to him. “You know I don’t break those.”
Ugh, Steph and her damn pinky swears. She wouldn’t even be married to Linden if it weren’t for one.
But Bram does a pinky swear with her.
“No funny business,” Steph warns him.
“Good thing I’m not funny!” I yell as I flop down on the couch. The room is beginning to spin.
“Nic, that was, like, five minutes ago,” Steph says. She reaches over the couch and pats my head. “Do you want us to undress you because Bram’s not allowed.”
“No one undresses me but me!” I yell, throwing my fist up into the air.
“Have fun with her,” Steph says to Bram. “And remember, she’s untouchable. Don’t make me make your brother punch you in the junk or something.”
Bram makes a scoffing noise. “Last time he tried to do that, I got him back good. You just ask him what happened on January 16th, 2005 and why he’ll never eat pudding again.”
“I mean it,” Steph threatens and I hear her and Kayla leave and the door closing.
I close my eyes too. Drift away for a moment. The spinning has stopped and there’s a beautifully cool breeze wafting over my skin.
“I’m not supposed to touch you,” Bram’s gruff voice says and when I open my eyes, he’s crouched in front of me, a lock of dark hair over his forehead. His face is shadowy in the dark, the only light now being from my bedroom behind him.
“That’s okay,” I mumble into the couch. “You can touch me. I say it’s fine.”
“How about I bring you something to sleep in? Do you have a favorite nightshirt? I always see you in that top that your nipples try and poke right through.”
“No, not the nipple shirt.”
He goes to get up. With a lazy hand, I grip his shirt. “Don’t leave. I’m fine here.”
“I can’t imagine you being comfortable.”
“I’m drunk. Everything is comfortable. Except I wish I had a cheeseburger. I would eat it and use it as a pillow. Or maybe use it as a pillow and then eat it.”
“I see.”
I raise my brow at him. “You just want to go through my underwear.”
“Oh, I’ve already gone through your underwear.”
“Lies.”
“I wore them on my head and danced around your apartment.”
“Did you really?” I ask, totally serious.
“Come on,” he says grabbing my forearms. “If you want to sleep in your clothes, that’s fine. But I’m bringing you to your own bed and taking off your shoes.”
“Can you brush my teeth too? I need clean teeth.” I let him pull me to my feet and I pitch to the left, heading right for the coffee table. But I’m in his arms, his capable arms, and he’s holding me to him.
“You have capable arms.”
“You have an exquisite arse,” he responds and half leads me, half drags me out of the living area and into the bedroom.
“I like the way you say arse,” I say with a giggle, exaggerating his accent. “I like the way you say everything.”
“I’m glad, because I foresee a lot of arse talk in the future.”
“Yeah, yeah.” I try and swat him away. “All talk and no arse pinching.”











With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancĂ© and rescue pup.

LINKS: FACEBOOK TWITTER GOODREADS AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: "Modern Monsters" by Kelley York

Vic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He’s the Invisible Guy at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went… And wished he hadn’t. Because something happened to a girl that night. Something terrible, unimaginable, and Callie Wheeler’s life will never be the same. Plus, now Callie has told the police that Vic is responsible. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry kids at school. As the whispers and violence escalate, he becomes determined to clear his name, even if it means an uneasy alliance with Callie's best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon. But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened at the party, they realize that while the truth can set Vic free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…

Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Did I like this book?

There were quite a few aspects of this book that make it unique, things that I absolutely loved!  For example, writing the book from a suspect's point of view? Genius!  Having that suspect be a shy, mouse of a guy with hardly anybody to protect him or take his side? Brilliant!  York did a tremendous job of getting me right inside Vic's head, making me sympathize with him, and further, fully investing me in the mystery of finding the true rapist.

There is one thing that, after finishing this book and mulling it over for a while, still does not sit well with me.  Unfortunately, I can't say too much about it without major spoilers, so I'll just say this:  after confirming the identity of the rapist, who I had suspected quite early on, I did not believe his motivations.  There, 'nuff said.  Ultimately, though, that one aspect of the book did factor highly in my overall rating.

Will you like this book?

Yes, I think most people looking for something a bit more serious and thought provoking from their YA contemporary reads will appreciate this book, simply because of the premise.  I've read other books focusing on rape and its aftermath from a victim's point of view, but never through the eyes of a suspect.  That aspect alone makes "Modern Monsters" worth the read.  Add to that great writing and memorable characters and you've got the recipe for a new favourite addition to your YA library.

Will I read more books by this author?

This was my first read by Kelley York, and I was thoroughly impressed with her writing style. I'm sure to be keeping an eye out for more of her books in the future!

My rating:  3.5 stars