Thursday, March 28, 2013

Light in the Shadows by A. Meredith Walters

(Find You in the Dark series, book 2)
How do you keep going when you feel like your life is over?

Maggie never thought she’d see Clay again. So, she attempts to put her life back together after her heart has been shattered to pieces. Moving on and moving forward, just as Clay wanted her to.

Clay never stopped thinking of Maggie. Even after ripping their lives apart and leaving her behind to get the help he so desperately needed. He is healing…slowly. But his heart still belongs to the girl who tried to save him.

When a sudden tragedy brings Maggie and Clay face to face again, nothing is the same. Yet some things never change. Can the darkness that threatened to consume them be transformed into something else and finally give them what they always wanted? And can two people who fought so hard to be together, finally find their happiness? Or will their demons and fear drive them apart for good?

The thing about love, is even when it destroys you, it has a way of mending what is broken. And in the shadows, you can still see the light.

*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Because even I knew the hold Clay had on my heart wasn’t rational and it wasn’t gentle. It was a vicious tug that threatened to rip the beating organ straight out of my chest. My soul belonged with him, was so entangled in him that I was no longer a single being. I was tired of trying to deny something that was as natural to me as breathing. I loved Clayton Reed and no amount of time or distance would ever take that away from me.

We all have those certain characters that you love, that take up residence in your heart, that you cry for and laugh with, that break your heart and then somehow put it back together; the characters that, even after you finish the book, don’t leave you. They’re real to you, which is why you feel their heartbreaks and their triumphs and their rock bottoms and their happily ever afters; that’s why I love reading. Because of amazing characters that stay with me for days, weeks, months, even years after a finish a novel…

I love reading because of characters like Clay and Maggie.

Light in the Shadows was an absolute perfect ending to the tumultuous love story of Clay and Maggie. To me, this novel is about redemption; it’s about discovering the strength to find your way out of the darkness and into the light. When I finished Find You in the Dark, my heart felt like it had been run over by a car then stuck in a blender on high – yeah, it was bad. I read the teaser for Light in the Shadows and thought, “How the fuck am I ever going to wait that long to find out what happens to Clay and Maggie?!” Well, somehow, someway, I made it – and let me tell you, it was soooo worth the wait.

I really don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I am not going to go into the plot. Just know this: the story line was superb, and I found myself completely absorbed within just the first two chapters. The dual POVs transitioned seamlessly, and allowed the reader to see just how much their love and connection affected both Clay and Maggie. One of my favorite scenes in the whole book is when they see each other for the first time after Clay is back in town; the sheer magnetic pull they have towards each other radiated off the page (well…technically screen) and in that moment, when everyone seemed to disappear around them, it was clear that neither of them were ready to let go yet. And I sure as hell didn't want them to let go.

Clay and Maggie are two of my favorite book characters and this series will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s just an absolutely beautiful series, and the fact that Clay and Maggie’s story is over is horribly bittersweet for me. While Find You in the Dark took me into the depths of darkness and left me gutted, Light in the Shadows put me back together and provided an overlying sense of hope…of recovery…of being able to leave your demons in the dark and learn to live in the light.

“For those searching for the light… Never stop.”

 AND because I love them so much, here are my Clay and Maggie........










Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Love March Madness - So I'm Giving Away Books!


March Madness is my favorite time of the year. I just love it - Selection Sunday, the brackets, the big dance, the upsets, the Cinderella stories, One Shining Moment, and hopefully seeing my Jayhawks celebrate as national champions again...I love all of it. I mean, this is better than Christmas, Halloween, and 4th of July all put together. Yeah. Let that sink in. That's how much I love this time of year. 

So, in my horribly happy mindset, I thought..."why not do a giveaway?!" And it just so happens that I am anxiously awaiting the release of Light in the Shadows by A. Meredith Walters, the third and final book in the Find You in the Dark series. The release date according to Goodreads is March 26, so I thought I'd give away the first two books in the series.

This is going to be a quick giveaway, running only two days, simply because I want to gift the ebooks before the release of Light in the Shadows

Here are the two books up for grabs: 
*Note: Cloud Walking is a novella based around two supporting characters from Find You in the Dark; it does not pick up where FYITD left off.

Synopsis:
Book 1
Maggie Young had the market on normal. Normal friends, normal parents, normal grades...normal life.
Until him.
Clayton Reed was running from his past and an army of personal demons that threatened to take him down. He never thought he had a chance at happiness. 
Until her. 
Maggie thought their love could overcome anything. Clay thought she was all he needed to fix his messy life.
That together, they could face the world.
But the darkness is always waiting. 
Sometimes the greatest obstacle to true love is within yourself. 


Synopsis:
Book 1.5
While Clay and Maggie were falling apart...
Daniel and Rachel were falling in love. 
Rachel Bradfield has loved Daniel Lowe for most of her life. She has had to sit quietly by while he throws his feelings away on a girl who doesn't deserve them. Rachel knows she can be everything he needs. 
Daniel has always known Rachel was special. She is one of his best friends. But what Daniel doesn't realize is that the girl he has known forever might just be the one he really wants. 
Love pulls two people together, while tearing two others apart. As Daniel and Rachel discover the beauty of first love, their best friend loses her heart to the deepest darkness. Unable to hold Maggie together, Rachel and Daniel find out that love doesn't have to hurt and that it can change your life. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in case you haven't seen it - check out the GORGEOUS cover for Light in the Shadows, and add this novel to your Goodreads shelf!




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blog Tour: Breaking the Wrong by Calia Read


Breaking the Wrong is the second book in the Sloan Brothers series, however, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. If you'd prefer to read Every Which Way first, click here to purchase the ebook from Amazon.

Synopsis & My Review:

Emilia Wenworth would do anything for her sister.

For three years, Emilia has lived in the past, feeling her sister’s pain and hating those who are to blame, including one of the Sloan brothers.

Finally, she has had enough. The only way to be free is to create a Burn List with all the people who have ever hurt her sister.

As she crosses each name off the list, she gets closer and closer to her final target. But, things aren’t always as they seem.

Loyalties are tested.
Boundaries are crossed.
And the truth is revealed.

*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review on the blog tour*

"Everyone wants to fall in love. But I think more people are in love with the theory of love. If you're looking in from the outside, it looks so beautiful On the inside, it's scary because it can take over your life. It's the strongest emotion but also the darkest. It can put you on a high for days, but it can wrap an anchor around your feet and drown you in less than a minute. If everyone knew the truth no one would really ask for love. But when it drops into your life, you can only hope that you have enough strength to hang on."

If you are my friend and/or follow my reviews on Goodreads, you’ll know that I didn’t finish the first book in this series, Every Which Way (GASP!) I know, I know, everyone was praising it and I really wish I could have loved it – I just didn’t. I got about 65% through before I gave up. I didn’t like Sev, I didn’t like Thayer, and I didn’t even like the story line. Now, I should tell you – I’m not a huge fan of love triangles; especially the ones where the girl continues dating Guy A, even though she has really strong feelings for Guy B. There’s a word for that: Rude.

Why is all of that relevant to this review? Well, because I was hesitant to read Breaking the Wrong simply because of my experience with Every Which Way. However, I was gifted an ARC for the blog tour and I wanted to be as fair in my review as possible. So, I went into this novel (which can be read as a stand-alone) with an open mind, slight apprehension, and a lot of hope. Hope that I would love it. And guess what? I did.

I absolutely, positively, shout-it-from-the-rooftops, loved this book. Honestly, I don’t think I can even express to you the pure joy that was coursing through my body when I finished this book – what?! No, I wasn’t happy because it was over; I was freaking ecstatic that I fell in love with it as much as I did. The characters go down as some of my all-time favorites: Macsen, Emilia, and even Chris. (Who else thinks Chris needs his own book, or at least a novella?! He’s effing hysterical.)  I softened a little bit to Thayer given his gradual attempt at a relationship with Macsen, and I actually felt sorry for Haley. She bugged me in Every Which Way, but after her little talk with Emilia when she explains her feelings for Macsen, my heart tugged for her a little bit. My feelings towards Sev remained pretty much the same; I still don’t care for her. But hey, you can’t love character you let into your life, now can you?

Macsen. This boy…I mean…I love him, I love him, I LOVE HIM! His relationship with Emilia is so loving, and adorable, and hot as fuck, and just plain perfect. They’re like macaroni and cheese – they just belong together. And when I said their relationship was hot as fuck, I mean it. The library scene. I can’t say anything else, but just know this…I think my vagina was doing backflips. For real.

Breaking the Wrong broke every wrong thought I previously had about Calia’s writing. This book made me a believer, and while I haven’t decided if I’ll try and finish Every Which Way, you can bet your ass I’ll be reading anything she publishes in the future. Until then, I’ll just have to keep re-reading Breaking the Wrong and fall in love with this story, and Emilia and Macsen all over again. 





**Click HERE to enter the giveaway for a chance to win SIGNED PAPERBACK COPIES of both books in the Sloan Brothers series, Every Which Way and Breaking the Wrong**

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Excerpt:

“If you were bold...” Macsen shifts closer and I clinch the book tightly in my hands. “What would you do?”      
            My heart picks up speed as I open my mouth. I hesitate for a second, afraid to say what I feel. But when will this opportunity ever come again? Probably never. But it doesn’t make it any easier.
            Tell him or don’t. Tell him or don’t. I weigh the pros and cons in my head as I stare at him. After a few seconds pass between us, I let out a shaky breath.
            “I’d lean forward...” I whisper.
            His face moves closer and I watch his green eyes become hooded with lust. “And what?”
            I lean an inch closer. “I would kiss you.”
            Macsen’s eyes slam shut and the rejection I feel stings. I start to rise and when he opens his eyes back up. His hands gently hold my own to the floor and then his mouth is on mine. I want to shiver from how lightly his lips move against mine, how smooth they feel. They move coaxingly, with soft nips. My lips stay shut. I’m enjoying every single trick of his to get me to open up my mouth to him.
            My breathing is shallow as I pull away. His hands move away as he settles onto the floor, his legs wide apart. My nose brushes against his as I stare into his eyes. His pulse is pounding at the base of his throat. With my palms flat on the floor, I lean closer. My body is between his spread legs. Even though he’s silent, his chest rises and falls like he has just stopped running. I know he wants me. I shut my brain down, ignore what a mistake this is, and lean forward and kiss the side of his neck. He jumps slightly and I lick his skin.
            I hear him groan and move my lips upward.
            A kiss cannot replace the past. But with every kiss to his skin, my hurt becomes a distant memory. All my pain is gone and all I can feel is the blood roaring throughout my body. My lips tingle as I drag them across his jaw. When I reach his lips, I stop, and hover. I can only go so far before it’s his turn to take control.
            My eyes briefly flick down to his arms. He’s resting his weight on his palms, but I watch his arms shake. He’s losing his calm demeanor. The longer our lips are apart, the more the air snaps around us. My breathing is harsh as I wait patiently. When Macsen still hasn’t moved, I start to back away.
            “Don’t,” he says roughly and reaches out. Easily, his hands span my waist and he drags me onto his lap. 
            I grip his forearms tightly as my body sinks closer and my thighs hug his hips. Against the juncture of my thighs, I can feel how hard he is. I shift once and my thighs start to shake. He only pauses for a second, looking at me with such intensity, I’m waiting for my skin to melt. When his lips meet mine, there’s more urgency to our kiss. My nails dig into his flesh as he licks the seam of my lips and nips at my bottom lip.    
            I want to pretend, just for a few hours, that I’m someone filled with forgiveness. No scars on my past. No cuts on my emotions. I want to be a whole person, not someone sewn back together. And I feel put together with Macsen’s arms banded tightly around me.
            I open my mouth and his tongue slips in. I gasp loudly in shock at how good this feels. Goosebumps break out across my skin, and I move my tongue against his cautiously. My revenge runs in the opposite direction the longer his mouth is on mine.
            Slowly, I start to relax my body. I practically sigh when Macsen’s hands move from my hips and toward my face. He bites lightly on my bottom lip and soothes the burn with his tongue. Macsen angles my head and explores my mouth. I thrust my tongue against his and fist my hands into his hair. The grip on my face tightens before his hands drift away, traveling down my body.
            His fingers drift over my breast and through my bra, my nipples tighten. I want him to keep touching me there, but his hands move across my stomach and slip underneath my shirt. 
            How can I be doing this? None of this is part of the plan. My mind torments me and tries to pull me back to reality, but Macsen is my weakness. I can’t stop. My fingers drag up his arm, clinching his biceps. His hands explore my stomach and I breathe heavily, pulling away from his mouth and leaning my head on his shoulder. Those large hands inch closer to the lace of my bra and the two of us are breathing hard. His fingers veer around my chest and I feel him slip a finger underneath the strap of my bra. And even with the barrier of my shirt, he drags it down my shoulder and down my arm.
            There’s a torturous second where he does nothing and I think I stop breathing.
            Against his neck, against my will, I murmur, “More.”
            My brain has shut down and now my lust is talking. It’s a greedy feeling because all I can think about is having his hands all over me.

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About the Author

College seemed like too much stress for me. Traveling across the world, getting married, and having three kids seemed much more relaxing. Yeah, I'm still waiting for the relaxing part to kick in. 

I change addresses every other year. It's not by choice but it is my reality. While the crazies of life kept me busy, the stories in my head decided to bubble to the surface. They were dying to be told and I was dying to tell them. 

That was four years ago. Soon, the stories will be shared with you. I hope you'll enjoy escaping to the crazy world of these characters with me. 

I'm constantly on Facebook. 'Like' me there so we can gush and talk about everything books!






Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On Every Street by Karina Halle

(The Artists Trilogy, book 0.5)
When young con artist Ellie Watt decides to call herself Eden White and go after the drug lord who ruined her as a child, she never expects to fall for one of his henchmen. But Javier Bernal is no ordinary man. Subtly dangerous and overwhelmingly seductive, Eden finds herself passionately in love with Javier, the very person she’s set-up to betray. With her body and heart in a heated battle against her deep need for revenge, no one will walk away from this con a winner.

This 50K word (100+ pages) novella takes place six years before Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after Sins & Needles and may also be read as a stand-alone.

Javier…YOU SON OF A BITCH! You make me fall for you when I didn’t even want to like you in the first place, and then even though I knew what was coming, you managed to rip my heart right out of my chest! There has never been a more perfect example of a love/hate relationship with a character – ever. I want to smack him across the face and rip all his clothes off at the same time. Karina, what have you done to me?!?

This novella is Javier and Ellie’s story, and it’s a fucking whirlwind. After reading Sins & Needles, I was torn on how I felt about a novella involving Javier. I had already made my mind about him and firmly planted myself on Team Camden. But there’s no way this novella would make me change my mind about him, right? I had to read it anyway. Then the unthinkable happened – I started seeing people’s posts about how dashing and charming and sexy Javier is, and now they don’t know who Ellie should end up with. Um…excuse the fuck out of me…but WHAT?! How could you possibly change your mind about this man??

And then I read On Every Street and I’m just as confused about my feelings as everyone else. Well, maybe not as torn, but there's some hesitation in my decision now. This novella allowed us to see the side of Javier that never surfaced in Sins & Needles, and really delve into their relationship. It wasn’t a huge train wreck or horribly one-sided like I thought it would be; it’s sweet and kind and loving…with a dash of crazy mother fucker. With having read Sins & Needles prior to On Every Street, I knew how their relationship would play out and just what actions would lead to their demise, but you know what? My heart hurt just as much this time as it did reading about it in Sins & Needles. Ellie is one of my favorite characters of all-time, and her meltdown in the truck was like taking a freaking hammer to my heart.

I didn’t want to like Javier or think that there might be some good underneath all that asshole, but I can’t help it. He got under my skin. I’m not to the point where I can say I don’t care who she ends up with, but Karina Halle definitely planted a little seed of doubt in my mind. Sure, Javier’s batshit crazy, but Camden isn’t perfectly sane either. On Every Street was an intense and suspenseful novella, and while I’m still Team Camden – the lure of Team Javier is giving me it’s come hither stare and the temptation has made its presence known. There is only one thing I know for sure at this point; I need Shooting Scars, like, yesterday! 






Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Give Me Something by Elizabeth Lee

Here’s the deal…I learned a long time ago that sometimes you have to use what you’ve got to make things happen. What I happen to have is a pretty smile, long legs and the ability to make men believe anything I say. Before you get on your high horse and start judging me, can you honestly say you’ve never batted your lashes at some guy for a free drink at the bar? That’s what I thought.

Keep in mind as I tell you my story of how I took it one step further. My story of lies, deceit, manipulation and love. Yeah, love. Believe me, it fits. Especially, when you factor in Nick and Tucker – one had my heart and the other one wanted it all for himself. Which one? Well, I can’t tell you that. It would defeat the purpose of the story. If I’m going to fill you in about me, Lila Garrison, and my life as a con artist you’re going to need to know all the facts, including the ones about the two guys who made me want to give up the life of fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, fast cars and easy money. Because sometimes, one person can give you something that’s more valuable than all of that.

If you’re still interested, stick around. Just remember, I’m pretty good at convincing people to do what I want, so if by the end of this whole thing you feel worked over, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

"I was pretty sure I was in love with Nick, falling for Tucker, and lying to them both." - Lila

A con artist, her sexy partner, an even sexier mark…and a bucket load of perfectly cheesy pickup lines. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a sucker for cheesy pickup lines; they make me laugh, and as Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.” Give Me Something is Elizabeth Lee’s second novel, and I love this book just about as much as I love her!

Give Me Something is a perfect mix of deception, angst, love, and suspense. The storyline is original and draws you in from page one; I was so wrapped up in the mess between Lila, Nick, and Tucker that I read the entire novel in a matter of hours! I seriously couldn’t put it down. I would tell myself, “Okay Ash, one more chapter and then you need to get some shit done,” but let me tell you something – the only shit I got done that day was starting and finishing this book.

The characters are some of my all-time favorites, and honestly, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be a big fan of Lila before reading this. She is the type of girl who knows just how beautiful she really is and uses it to her advantage. And while I think we can all agree that we’ve all used our looks to get our way at some point, I was concerned that she would come across an arrogant girl with her nose up so high it might as well be in the damn clouds. I seriously could not have been more wrong; there was not one time during this book that I disliked her. Sure, I don’t agree with her and Nick’s business of conning people but even with that baggage, she was still a likable character. That’s the sign of a talented author, y’all!

Nick and Tucker…where do I even begin?! My feelings for Nick were all over the freaking place because the guy just seemed like a sneaky, little bastard. I liked him and then didn’t like him…and then I’d forgive him, and then there was one particular scene where I was all, “OH HELL MOTHER FUCKING NO HE DIDN’T!!!” I hated him in that moment; and then Elizabeth throws another curveball right at my face and makes me regret screaming angry obscenities towards him! The only thing that kept me from forgetting which was up was Tucker Kline. Sweet sassy molassey! I absolutely adore him!! His cheesy pickup lines were adorable, and his whole persona is like a breath of fresh air. Well, a steaming hot breath of fresh air. Excuse me for a moment while I wipe the drool off my face and collect my thoughts………

Okay. Good enough.

Honestly, I could go on and on about this book but now I have Tucker Kline on the brain, and it doesn’t appear he’s going away any time soon. If you haven’t read Give Me Something yet, you’re missing out. Buy this book and buy it noooow! Oh and E, the irony is not lost on me that this book is called Give Me Something and you really did give me something – a badass read and a hot, new book boyfriend. ;)

PS – Just because of the pickup lines in this book, I thought I’d share my all-time favorite cheesy pickup line with y'all: You’ve got 206 bones in your body. Want one more?  
You know that made you laugh… :)






**Enter to win signed paperback copies of both Elizabeth Lee novels, SHATTERED and GIVE ME SOMETHING here!**

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About the Author

Born and raised in the middle of a Midwestern cornfield (not literally, that would be weird), I've spent my entire life imagining stories. Stories where the right guy always gets the right girl, first kisses are as magical as they are on the big screen and anything is completely possible if you believe. 

Although this journey began years ago, it recently took on a whole new life. After years of devouring hundreds of romance, YA and new adult novels, I had an epiphany...I should write a book. And I did! My first YA/New Adult novel is out now!

If I'm not reading, writing, enjoying drinks with my amazing group of girlfriends or chasing around a sarcastically funny one-year-old, I'm probably watching television shows that were created for teenagers, while my husband teases that I'm too old to watch them. 



Follow the Give Me Something blog tour here




Monday, March 11, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Because of You by T.E. Sivec

Because of You (Playing with Fire #2) by T.E. Sivec
Release Date: April 29, 2013
Cover Design: Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations

Synopsis:


Brady Marshall has made a career of playing it safe. When he decides to do something rash and becomes a Navy SEAL, he thinks he's finally escaped the rigid structure of the high society life his parents forced down his throat. All he does is trade in one set of rules for another. He follows military protocol to a T, but it still results in the death of an entire team of Navy SEALS and puts his best friends directly in harm's way. He's struggled to stay afloat and not drown in grief, guilt, and booze, but he's losing that battle quickly. When his baby sister flees her abusive husband and shows up on his doorstep with his young niece in tow, he has no choice but to clean up his act. He will stop at nothing to protect them and never let them down again, even if it means taking a job that goes against everything he believes in. If protecting a pop star princess who thinks she's better than everyone means he can keep a roof over their, what other choice does he have?


Layla Carlysle has lived a life of luxury. She's been a star since the young age of fifteen, and every record she releases shoots straight to the top of the charts. She has people surrounding her every single day telling her how amazing she is, how beautiful she is, and how lucky she is, but she's never felt more alone in her entire life. She wants nothing more than to break free and do what she really wants to do: write her own music, sing her own songs, and find a way to finally be happy with her life. The only thing standing in her way is her mother, Eve Carlysle. Eve has controlled every single aspect of her daughter's life and will stop at nothing to achieve fame and fortune, even if that means using her daughter to get there. When an overly-amorous fan's letters become increasingly more sinister, Brady will have to suck up his opinion of how the other half lives to take the job seriously. The pair will need to learn to trust each other and put aside their differences before the letters become a reality and someone's life is in jeopardy. 

Brady has been to hell and back, and he refuses to let anyone else get close to him again. Layla has never lived her life for herself, and the emptiness is threatening to break her for good. 

Sometimes our lives are already planned for us, but because of you, all of that could change in an instant. 




**Check out my review for A Beautiful Lie, the first book in the Playing with Fire series and add it to your shelf on Goodreads** 

**Want a BECAUSE OF YOU teaser??? Of course you do. Click here & brace yourself ;)**

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About the Author

This is the pen name of Tara Sivec. Under T.E. Sivec, she writes romantic suspense novels. T.E. Sivec lives in Ohio with her husband and two children, living the dream of being a full-time writer. 



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Thanks to Madison for organizing the cover reveal!



Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

(Ten Tiny Breaths series, book 1)
Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind – all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson is apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

“I’d fix it all for you if I could. You know that right?” He whispers. I wonder if he’s talking about my scars or the last four years of my life.
“Yes,” is all I say. Yes to all of it.

5 BREATHTAKING, BEAUTIFULLY DAMAGED STARS.

This is one hell of a journey; it is a story of love, loss, healing, and the power of forgiveness. After Kacey loses four of the most important people in her life to a drunk driver, she refuses to let anyone get to close her again. If she doesn’t let anyone in, she can’t experience the grief of losing someone again. There is only one person Kacey wants in her life: her younger sister, Livie. When their uncle crawls into Livie’s bed one night, Kacey decides it’s time for her and Livie to get out of Grand Rapids, and start all over in Miami, Florida. While they are working on building a new life together, not one…not two… but several people, including her sex-on-a-stick neighbor Trent, manage to finagle their way into Kacey’s life and as hard as she tries, she just can’t shut them out. But when she finds out about Trent’s past, all the progress she has made comes crashing down into a suffocating heap of betrayal.

Sweet mercy, I am so in love with this book. The characters, each and every single one of them, officially takes up residence in my heart – Kacey, Trent, Livie, Storm, Mia, Dan, Ben, Tanner, Nate – I absolutely adored all of them for very different reasons. I honestly can’t remember the last book I read where I cared so exponentially not just about the main characters, but the secondary ones as well. I love reading about well-developed characters; the ones where it’s obvious that the writer is just as invested in the secondary characters, as they are in the main characters. Ten Tiny Breaths is a blinding example of wonderfully developed characters.

The chemistry between Kacey and Trent sent steam rolling off the pages, and their gradual relationship was refreshing. Sure, Trent was the one pumping the brakes every time things got heated between them, but it was nice to see their relationship evolve without sex overshadowing it. Trent’s ability to slowly break down the walls Kacey had built up was heartwarming, sweet, charming, and just plain freaking perfect. I love them together; love.

I will admit, I kind of had my suspicions on what Trent was hiding about his past and as it turned out, I was right. The thing is…I wasn’t even mad at him. My heart broke for him and Kacey in that moment but surprisingly, I didn’t cry! What?!? I know! The only part of this book that broke me down and finally turned on the waterworks was the scene with Kacey, Cole, a one-way mirror, and a tear-jerking apology. As much as I felt like I should dislike Cole, I couldn’t – not one ounce of me wanted to dislike him. He made a terrible decision four years ago that shattered his life just as much as it ripped apart Kacey’s, and I empathized with him…especially in that room.   

Ten Tiny Breaths is absolutely fabulous, and is definitely one that I will buying in paperback – who doesn’t need physical copies of their favorite books, even if they buy the ebook first?! This will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, and show you the power of forgiveness, empathy, and closure. It’s incredibly moving…honestly, I can’t say enough about this book. Just read it. I promise you won’t regret it.

"Just breathe," my mom would say. "Ten tiny breaths...Seize them. Feel them. Love them."

PS – I think this novel paints a very ugly and very real picture of how driving drunk can not only change your life, but it can change the life of an innocent person who just happens to be on the road at the same time you decided to get behind the wheel after too many drinks. Would you rather spend the money on a cab ride insuring you get home safe, or risk hurting yourself and/or someone else…and then having to live with that guilt? Don’t drink and drive, y’all; believe me – it’s worth it to spend $20 on a cab.  






On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring the sixteen-year-old T.J.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed that year.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahans’ summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I was wandering through Barnes and Noble one day searching for some new paperbacks to add to my bookshelf, and I came across On the Island; it was on sale and I’d heard good things about it, so I thought “yeah, why not” – I added it to my stack of books and headed for the checkout counter. I got home, put it on my bookshelf (along with the other books I lugged home) and that’s where it stayed, unread, for months. Yep, months. I was worried the age difference would be weird for me, that I wouldn’t be able to take it seriously, that there would be an ick-factor to the romance.

Holy smacks, I could not have been more wrong!

On the Island is the story of Anna & T.J., who find themselves stranded on an island after their pilot has a heart attack and crashes their plane in the ocean, somewhere amongst the thousands of islands in the Maldives. The longer they are on the island, the more they begin to lose hope of ever being found, and the more they begin to rely on each other not just for survival, but for companionship – for years, the only human contact they have is with each other. While they work together to keep each other alive, Anna tries to fight off her growing feelings for T.J.; but just how long can she really hold out knowing they may never get off this island…

The relationship between Anna and T.J. was perfectly written, in my opinion. While I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get past their age difference, or that it wouldn’t be believable, or that it would seem inappropriate – I’m so happy to say that I felt none of those things. My mind eased exponentially when I realized nothing sexual would happen between them until he was legal, and the gradual attraction seemed natural; I mean, if you’re stuck on an island for years with someone, it makes sense that you would start to develop an intimate relationship.

This book was pretty much flawless, and Tracey’s writing will captivate you from the very first page. One of the major pluses for me? It didn’t drag. At all. Tracey could have very easily extended this book given that years go by while they’re on the island, but she didn’t – she didn’t include unnecessary plotlines that would have bogged down the story to the point where I would have been thinking, “Really though…when are they getting off this damn island?!” That thought didn’t cross my mind once, because there weren’t any plotlines that caused the story to flat line; every victory, every obstacle, every detail was perfect and necessary and kept me enthralled with T.J. and Anna page after page.

You know a book is a quality read when the author can invoke the emotions of the characters into the reader; Tracey did that with On the Island. One instance in particular involving their first fire immediately followed by rain made my heart sink. I felt for these characters, and I was rooting for T.J. and Anna’s relationship like it was my freaking job. This book just absolutely blew me away, and God forbid I ever find myself stranded on an island, I can only pray that I have a T.J. with me. 






Monday, March 4, 2013

COVER REVEAL: The Good Life by Jodie Beau

The Good Life by Jodie Beau
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Cover Design: Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations

Synopsis:

Twenty-two year old Roxie Golightly is a fun and carefree spirit...until she marries a wealthy man and her role as a trophy wife leaves her isolated in a condo with an ironing board and on obsessive desire to impress people. 

When her marriage ends after seven years, Roxie's identity is buried so deep under layers of furniture polish and piles of designer shoes that she doubts she can ever be the person she once was. 

In an attempt to reconnect Roxie with the person she used to be, her friend creates the Good Life List -- a list of challenges for her to complete by the end of the summer. 

With list in hand, Roxie moves back to her hometown. With the help of a sexy and charismatic guy from her past, Roxie is only a few check marks away from living the good life again, even if it means getting thrown out of a bar, wearing a skirt the size of a belt or skinny-dipping in the neighbor's pool at 3 A.M. 


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About the Author

Jodie has been writing fiction since she was a child and it was the only natural she would pursue it as a career. While studying at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, she took every writing class offered before she received a BA in Media Arts. After graduation, she moved to Wilmington, NC, with big dreams of one day writing for movies and TV. 

Then she met a boy...and there was a wedding. A few years later came another boy, this one even cuter. She gave up her "pipe dream" of being a Hollywood screenwriter and moved back to Detroit to be a wife, mom and career waitress. But babies sleep a lot and she got bored and it was either write or clean the house. So she wrote. 

She began with a pregnancy/mom blog, but she dreamed of doing more with her writing than making people laugh with stories of baby poop. So she decided to take a chance, to see if success wasn't just a pipe dream. The Good Life is her first novel.