Monday, August 29, 2016

"The Debt" by Karina Halle - Release Day Blitz and Excerpt!!!

      the debt 0 days (1) 

   The Debt AMAZON Her life changed in an instant. And he's the only one who could have prevented it. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men. Jessica Charles shouldn't have even been in London when the unthinkable happened. She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always. But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica's world changed forever. Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes. That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again. Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you've got pretty much the perfect Scotsman. Except Keir is anything but perfect. He's got a past he's running away from and a guilty conscience he can't seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her. And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart. He may have been a stranger to her. But she’s never been a stranger to him.    

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“You’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”  

“It’s getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.   

“You need something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.   

“The scotch will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really, I should go.”   

“Why?” he asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”   

I have to think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you don’t need to make any excuses.”  

I take the glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.  

“I just…” I begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”

“Good at what?”  

“At…this. Being with a man.”  

When he doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”  

I clear my throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”  

“Yes, how you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”  

“I never said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.  

His eyes never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”  

I have the sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me? There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I feel.”  

I stare at him in shock. I do? “How?”  

He looks off with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”  

“But then you said just as friends.”  

“And I meant it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind we are.”  

I put my drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.  

“You’re on fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you. Hot and bothered.”  

“Back with the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.  

“No, no innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want from me? What do you think I can give you?”  

Jesus. This is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of myself.  

If I lie, he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.  

“I want…” I take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”  

“Company?” He sounds surprised.  

I nod. “That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”  

There. That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like flour to stock.  

He sits down next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”  

I burst out laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up a notch.   

“Sorry,” I tell him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”  

He sucks in his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”   

And there I have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.             The Debt 2 thedectteaser2          

  Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Review: "Love, Rosie" by Cecilia Ahern

Sometimes you have to look at life in a whole new way... From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can't seem to get it right. Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S. She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She's pregnant by a boy she'd gone out with while on the rebound from Alex. Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn't done with them yet.
Thanks to Hachette Books via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
So, let me start off by saying I liked this book, I really did. Unfortunately, I expected to love it, so I was a bit let down by the fact that I didn't. 

In the end, it was just an okay read for me.

First of all, I didn't really love the format. Sometimes it was a bit confusing. Other times I felt like I wasn't getting enough information. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but the whole letter writing/card sending/email thing didn't work for me. I would have preferred a more traditional style of story telling in this case, because although we get a decent glimpse inside Rosie's brain, she's the only one I felt any attachment to. Rosie often frustrated me to the extreme, so it would have been nice to feel some connection to Alex, or Ruby, or any of the other characters in the book, just to give me a break from the constant Rosie-ness of it all. 

Aside from the lack of connection to the characters, I also felt the book dragged on too long. Seriously, by the time it's all said and done, we're talking about forty some odd years of letter writing! I wanted to scream, "Come on, Rosie and Alex! Get your crap together and figure it out already!" I guess I was losing patience, you could say.

However, there were some extremely funny moments! The one that comes to mind is when Rosie meets some thugish men at a pub. I haven't seen the movie version yet, but I'm crossing my fingers that this is one incident that gets translated to the big screen, because it had me in stitches!

All in all, I am glad to have read this book, and I would like to read more by this author. I also have big hopes for the movie version, because, hello? Sam Claflin, anyone?

My rating: 3.5 stars

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Review: "Breaking Sky" by Cori McCarthy

In this high-flying, adrenaline-fueled debut thriller, America's best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy Chase Harcourt, call sign "Nyx," is one of only two pilots chosen to fly the experimental "Streaker" jets at the junior Air Force Academy in the year 2048. She's tough and impulsive with lightning-fast reactions, but few know the pain and loneliness of her past or the dark secret about her father. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky. But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There's a third Streaker jet, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. Chase doesn't play well with others, but to save her country she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

To be honest, I was not expecting much from this book. The synopsis made me think that "Breaking Sky" might come off a bit silly, so in that regard, I admit I was pleasantly surprised. I still feel that no matter how hard or demanding the training might be, there's no way teenagers would make competent fighter pilots. I mean, adult fighter pilots must put in thousands of hours to get as good as they are, so even if we're talking about the most mature, genius teenagers in the country, they're still not going to have the experience behind them to fly and fight like an adult. But, if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to get past this issue, then you might really enjoy this book. 

I was also expecting "Breaking Sky" to be all "rah rah USA", which I'm quite pleased to say that it was not! As a Canadian reader, I was surprised and excited to see that Canada (and two Canadians!) played a fairly significant role in this story, but that's all I'm going to say on that for fear of giving too much away.

I think there are definitely areas that could use improvement. Most of the characters were developed quite well - I especially enjoyed Pippin and Sylph - but I felt I didn't get to know a whole lot about Tristan. I also wanted to know more about why Chase hated her father so much. We're given a bit of backstory, but I don't think it was fleshed out enough to really make me understand the depth of Chase's feelings. 

Overall, though, I enjoyed this book and the writer's style. If you're looking for a fast-paced, young adult read with a kick ass heroine in an alternate future, "Breaking Sky" could be exactly what you're looking for.

My rating:  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: "The Summer After You and Me" by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor. Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?
Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley for the free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
This was my first book by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, and I really enjoyed it. The pace was perfect for a summer beach read, the writing was great, and the characters resonated with me. But, right off the bat, I think there should be a disclaimer in the synopsis stating that there is a bit of a love triangle. You know, like a "heads up" type warning label or something, because I know many readers seem to hate that whole trope. For me, the love triangle worked okay here - it was quite evident, at least to me, who Lucy would end up with, and it seemed necessary that Lucy work through her feelings for both boys in order to figure out what she really wanted for her future. So yeah, it worked, but it would have been nice to know ahead of time what I was getting into.

I quite liked Lucy. The ups and downs she went through with her friends, her brother, her parents, and even Connor, seemed realistic to me. I liked how she was working towards her career goals by getting volunteer experience in her field. Lucy also went through many plausible disappointments during this book, like having to move out of her house while it was being renovated after the storm, and figuring out a back up plan after her summer job plans fell through. I was especially interested in the dynamic between Lucy and her twin brother - I liked how she found out from her parents, and Connor, among others, how what she perceived was completely different from how other people saw the situation. Lucy always felt that she was trying to keep pace with her brother, but in reality, things were quite different.

There was one character that felt a bit extraneous, an older, male university student.  I'm not really sure why he was added in the mix, except to offer help to Lucy when she needed it. I never quite bought his motivations, and I kept waiting for him to start hitting on Lucy or take advantage of her in some way. Maybe that's the skeptic in me, but he didn't seem to serve much of a purpose here. My opinion would be to get rid of this guy altogether - he added nothing to the plot that couldn't be developed in some other way.

If I'm going to be completely critical here, I would have liked to learn more about Connor, as well. Most of what we learn about Connor is through flashbacks, and from Lucy's observations of him from afar.  There were some sweet moments between the two of them, and I did like Connor, I just wish that he hadn't been held at arm's length so much. I feel like the author only scratched the surface of him, if you know what I mean!

But, other than those minor criticisms, this book was a fun read and a great one to start my summer with!

My rating: 4 stars