Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Release Week Blitz + Giveaway: Every Last Breath by Jennifer Armentrout

Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer Armentrout

Release Date: July 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 400
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • iBooks • IndieBound
Kobo • BAM

Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath...

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
     - New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
     - #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss

Excerpt from Every Last Breath

Roth cleared his throat. “Shortie, look…look at your hand.”

Look at my hand? Why in the world would he be asking me to do that in the midst of all the cray?

“Do it,” he said quietly and too gently.

The dread exploded in my gut like buckshot, and my gaze dropped to my left hand. I expected to see the weird marbling of black and gray, a mixture of the demon and Warden that existed inside of me and a combination I’d become almost familiar with by now. My nails had lengthened and sharpened, and I could tell they were hard enough to cut through steel, as hard as my skin, but my skin…it was still pink. Really pink.

“What the…?” My gaze traveled to my other hand. It was the same. Just pink. My wings twitched, reminding me that I had shifted.

Zayne swallowed. “Your…your wings…” “What about my wings?” I almost screeched, reaching be‑ hind me. “Are they broken? Did they not come out—” The tips of my fingers came into contact with something as soft as silk. My hand jerked back. “What…”

Stacey’s watery eyes had doubled in size. “Um, Layla, there’s a mirror above the fireplace. I think you need to look in it.”

I met Roth’s gaze for a second before I spun around and all but ran to the fireplace I was sure Stacey’s mom had never used. Clutching the white mantel, I stared at my reflection.

I looked normal, like I did before I shifted…like I was going to class or something. My eyes were the palest shade of gray, a watered-down blue. My hair was so blond it was almost white, and a mess of waves that went in every direction like usual. I looked like a colorless china doll, which was nothing new, except for the two fangs jutting out of my mouth. I wouldn’t show them off at school, but that wasn’t what caught my attention and held it.

It was my wings.

They were large, not as massive as Zayne’s or Roth’s, and normally they were almost leathery in texture, but now they were black…black and feathered. Like legit feathered. That soft, silky thing I’d felt? It had been tiny feathers.


“Oh my God,” I whispered at my reflection. “I have feathers.”

“Those are definitely feathered wings,” Roth commented.

I whipped around, knocking over a lamp with my feathered right wing. “I have feathers on my wings!”

Roth cocked his head to the side. “Yeah, you do.”

He was absolutely no help, so I turned to Zayne. “Why do I have feathers on my wings?”

Zayne shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Layla. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Liar,” hissed Roth, shooting him a dark look. “You’ve seen that before. So have I.”

Trailer for Every Last Breath


And don't miss the first titles in the Dark Elements series!

Bitter Sweet Love
Amazon • B&N • iBooks • BAM • Kobo

White Hot Kiss
Amazon • B&N • iBooks • BAM  Kobo • IndieBound

Stone Cold Touch
Amazon • B&N • iBooks • BAM • Kobo • IndieBound

About the Author

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel Don't Look Back was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website      Facebook      Twitter      Goodreads

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: While It Lasts by Paige Rion

While It Lasts (Callaway Cove #2) by Paige Rion

Release Date: January 20. 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review Copy
Goodreads • Amazon - Kindle • Amazon - Paperback

A loan shark that doesn't bite?

Rachel Beaumont discovers her mother's gambling debt has put their family in danger of losing their money and social status. It's up to Rachel to do anything to maintain the lifestyle she's accustomed toincluding hunting down her mother's debtor. But the green-eyed, dark-haired, hunk known as Rex Greene matches none of the stereotypes of a loan shark. Her spur-of-the-moment plan to make him fall in love with her is a dangerous roll of the dice.

FBI agent Colton McCabe arrived at Callaway Cove with one motive. Play the part of Rex Greene and gather evidence in the Beaumont racketeering case. He never anticipated the involvement of the subject's beautiful daughter, Rachel. Not only is she unexpected in every way, but she may just be the one to crack the case. Or his heart.

In this second installment of the Callaway Cove series, While It Lasts delivers a sweet romance, filled with joy, heartbreak, love, and choices.

While It Lasts follows the unlikely romance of Rachel Beaumont, a largely spoiled, directionless twenty one-year-old, and Rex Greene, the man she believes holds the power to bring her life down around her. As her mother's apparent loan shark, Rachel seeks out Rex with the intent of resolving her family's debt—by making him fall in love with her. But Rex is not who he seems. His name is really Colton McCabe, and he's spent months trying to bring Rachel's father down for racketeering. And Rachel may be his ticket to resolving the case.

The romance between Rachel and Colton is fast-moving but sweet. They find comfort and support in each other in a way they've never experienced. While much of the book really drives home their reluctant development of feelings, it wasn't unbearable in its frequency and helped to build the tension. And there was certainly no shortage of tension—the banter and chemistry between them really helped make the story believable.

Colton's position within the FBI, however, was much less believable. There were many aspects of his life that I highly doubt would work for someone who's undercover. Not to mention some of the advice with regards to Rachel from his superiors. I can only hope there exist more regulations in that regard. Basically, without giving too much away, this was a very irresponsible setup for someone who's undercover and could be at any kind of risk.

If you're looking for a short, fun escape-read While It Lasts may be right up your alley. I read it over my spring break, and it was the perfect sweet and easy book to relax with!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

While It Lasts

by Paige Rion

Giveaway ends March 31, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

About the Author

Paige Rion is a contemporary romance author. She's a mother, wife, blogger, hopeless chocoholic, coffee-addicted, wine-lover. Her debut romance, Written On Her Heart, is the first in the Callaway Cove series. Since her first release, she has completed five novellas and the second installment of the Callaway Cove series, While It Lasts. She grew up in the suburbs outside of the city, and while she will always be a city girl at heart, she now but lives on a farm with her husband and children (and animals).

She loves connecting with readers on her blog and social media. 

Subscribe to her newsletter for news on giveaways, new releases, and exclusive content.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Release Day Launch: Better When He's Bold by Jay Crownover

Better When He's Bold (Welcome to the Point #2) by Jay Crownover

Release Date: February 3, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Pages: 400
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • iTunes • Kobo
IndieBound • HarperCollins

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover, comes the second book in a combustible new series, Welcome to the Point, that is sexier, darker, and better than ever.

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who is bad. . . . Welcome to the Point.

In a dark and broken kingdom, a ruler has be fearless to control the streets and the ruthless people who run them. Race Hartman is just bold enough, just smart enough, and just lost enough to wear the crown. Places like The Point will always have bad things and bad people, but the man in control of all that badness can minimize the devastation. Race has a plan, but can he prevent total annihilation without destroying himself?

Brysen Carter has always seen the real Race—a guy too pretty, too smooth, and way too dangerous. Basking in his golden glow is very tempting, but Brysen knows she’ll eventually get burned. She has enough problems without the risky danger and mayhem that comes with a guy like Race. Too bad Brysen faces a threat close to home that might be more dangerous than anything The Point has ever produced.. And the only person interested in keeping her safe is the one man she can’t allow herself to have.

Sometimes being bold is the only way to stay alive. But can she let Race save her life . . . if it means losing herself to him?

And don't miss the previous book in the Welcome to the Point series:

Excerpt from Better When He's Bold

I wheeled the Mustang into the compound and watched to make sure the gates swung closed behind us. The security lights flickered on overhead, casting her in an ethereal, bluish glow. Everything about her was refined and pure looking. God, I wanted to mess her up. I wanted my hands in her hair, my marks on her skin, and my taste in her mouth. I wanted her to look as rough as she made me feel on the inside. No one had ever riled me up like that before. Maybe because I was so used to just getting without having to ask, and Brysen never offered that to me. I always had to ask her what the next move was going to be, and her answers often surprised me. She was not a sure bet, and I think the challenge of that made her even more desirable.

“The lengths we go to in order to keep our family safe, to do right by those we love, is often a weighty burden to bear.” I got out of the car and went around to let her out of the passenger side. When I pulled her up, I pressed her back into the side of the car with the full length of my body and bent down so that my mouth hovered enticingly over the plump ridge of hers.

“I would do anything for Dovie, anything. I have done things for her that made me hate the man I had to be in order to do them, but it was in her best interest. I admire you being able to put your own life down and pick up a different one out of loyalty to your sister, but somewhere in there, you need to remember she’s going to have to learn to take care of herself. She’ll eventually have to admit that your parents are fucked and move on with her own life. Dovie found the one person in the world to love who has the ability to insulate her from anything the Point wants to throw at her. Your sister will eventually have to find her stability as well. She won’t need you forever.”

I saw something flare deep in those cerulean eyes, a spark of pain, maybe of realization that I was right, but then it was gone and she was pressing up on her tiptoes and sealing her mouth over mine. I let my hands glide down her sides and fall under her backside. She had the nicest butt on any girl I had ever seen, the nicest body really. There was no end to all her curves and dips, and anywhere my hands decided to land, they were filled with firm and sexy flesh. The brief glimpse I had had of her out of her towel the last time we were this close together had been enough to burn out the image of any other female I might’ve seen naked in the last few years. All I could see was Brysen and her pretty, pale skin, her high breasts with perfectly pink nipples, and her most private of places that were just at elegant and alluring as the rest of her. She was a blond bombshell and I could feel my body urging me to stop playing around and finally seal the deal with her.


About the Author

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cover Reveal: Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast

Amber Smoke (The Escaped #1) by Kristin Cast

Release Date: June 9, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Diversion Books
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Kobo • iTunes

The door to the massive New York Times bestselling House of Night series has closed. Now, Kristin Cast kicks down a new door to welcome her millions of fans to her latest sizzling series.

There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.

Someone has opened the cage.

The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back. He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets. First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life. Then, she will become the hunter.

With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another.

Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the House of Night series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.


About the Author

Kristin Cast is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who teamed with her mother to write the young adult House of Night series. She has stories in several anthologies, as well as editorial credits, and a thriving t-shirt line. The first book in her new adult paranormal romance series releases June 9th, 2015!

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway + Author Interview: Sweet Surprise by Candis Terry

Sweet Surprise (Sweet, Texas #4) by Candis Terry

Release Date: January 27, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: ARC for Tour from Edelweiss
Goodreads • Amazon

Playing naughty or nice . . .

Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That's another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse.

Can lead to heartbreak . . .

Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you burned. He's put his demons behind him, and if there's one line he won't cross, it's getting involved with his best friend's ex. But when fate throws him in the path of the beautiful, strong, and off-limits Fiona, will he be able to fight their attraction? Or will he willingly go down in flames?

Or a sweet surprise!

As a single mother, Fiona is doing her best to navigate the many responsibilities that follow. Her daughter is her world, and while she wants to find the one someday, little Isabella and her dream of owning her own cupcake shop come first. So she makes the move to Sweet, Texas to be closer to the support of her surrogate family. Enter Mike, the hotter-than-hell fireman who makes her reconsider her own "serious relationships only" promise. They both have their histories, but the possibility of being together may be just what they need to let go.

Fiona and Mike as characters were definitely solid. They had a lot of baggage from their pasts that manifested in—what felt to me like—real, believable interactions (perhaps with the exception of Fiona's camaraderie with her ex-husband, but only because I've never seen two people as enviably amicable post-divorce). But, despite their respective hang-ups, they worked hard to move past them in order to be together. I also really enjoyed Fiona's—and eventually Mike's— devotion to and consideration for Fiona's daughter. That had the maternal instincts going haywire in the best way. On top of that, Fiona's drive and determination with regards to her business were admirable and likable qualities. In both cases, our leads certainly strong, worthy characters with enough flaws and missteps for intrigue and believability.

Perhaps my favorite aspects of this book were the little town of Sweet and the lively, genuine characters that inhabit it. The family and small-town dynamics of the Wilders and the rest of the residents were brimming with charm, humor, and all-around entertainment value. Sure, there are elements that aren't so new—the meddling, matchmaking matriarch (Ha! Alliteration!) for instance—but they all worked within the story for me and I never got hung up on whether they might be tired or trope-ish.

Sweet Surprise was the perfect cute read for a decompression weekend. I had a lot going on while I was making my way through it and the book I'd been reading before really hadn't been doing it for me, but this book was the perfect way to bring my stress down. It was a pretty quick read, but not in a way that detracted from the overall story. It was the textbook fun, light read, with enjoyable characters and interactions, but a healthy dose of heart. If you're a romance fan and looking for a way to relax, look no further! The town of Sweet, Texas has you covered.

Excerpt from Sweet Surprise

Fiona swallowed. Something warm and forbidden swirled in the pit of her stomach, then wound its way into her heart and other vital parts of her body. In the old days she’d tug him closer and take what she wanted. But this was a new day. A new Fiona. A more responsible Fiona who, unfortunately, couldn’t seem to get this man off her mind.

“Then maybe this won’t work out.” She eased her hand from his and instantly missed the fire in his touch.

“Maybe.” Those broad shoulders beneath that fresh cotton T-shirt lifted in a nonchalant shrug. “I’m willing to give it a shot if you are.”

Give what a shot, she wanted to ask. The actual work? Or the sexual tension that ignited between them like gasoline and matches?

A sigh expanded her chest. “If you’re going to work for me there can’t be any flirting. Or touching.”

His smile widened to a grin. “It’ll be a pleasure working under you.”

Oh boy.

Interview with Candis Terry

What drew you to write a series set in Texas? Assuming it's more than just the cowboys, that is... ;)

Hello! Thank you so very much for having me here today! Well, I do love my cowboys. I live on a farm in an agricultural area and there might be more rodeos here per year than anywhere else. When my daughter was involved in the rodeo circuit I got an eyeful of those cowboys. And I’m not complaining! Writing a series set in Texas was a very exciting venture for me. I’d been to Texas many times. I have relatives in Texas. And I just really love the state and its people. So the possibility of being able to do research and spend a little more time there was very appealing. Plus, Texas just seems to have very hearty people, and I knew the Wilder bunch was going to have to come from someplace that had a lot of guts and grit.

Where did you get the inspiration for Sweet, Texas?

I put boots on the ground and traveled all through the Texas Hill Country and I found more inspiration than I could have ever imagined. Sweet, Texas is really a combination of the small towns of Boerne and Comfort. I love these places! Sweet’s favorite fashionista goat, Miss Giddy, would not have come to pass had I not been driving through Comfort and seen an adorable little shop with that name. The sweet potato fries served at Bud’s Nothing Finer Diner may not have made it to the page if I hadn’t discovered the delicious ones at Soda Pop’s in Boerne. And Wilder & Son’s Hardware and Feed may never have opened its doors if it hadn’t been for Bergmann Lumber. There were so many places I discovered that I just couldn’t wait to come back home and create the little town that has become so near and dear to my heart.

What are your favorite characteristics in female and male leads?

Strength and the ability to push past their problems. Anyone who has read my books knows I write very flawed characters. And sometimes their stubbornness drives me a little crazy (Hello, Jackson Wilder from Sweetest Mistake!). But honestly, I want these characters to be as real as the people I meet every day. Real people are complex. They aren’t always nice. They have pasts that mold them into who they have become. Personally, I can tell you why I am the way I am and what caused me to be that way. Characters in books must act and react in the same way real people do. But in a story, the reader must admire or even relate to the characters. And that can only come from giving the characters enough depth and enough strength to overcome their issues and be brave enough to reach out there and grab hold of what really matters. I don’t create wimpy characters because I can’t tolerate them. I want to create characters who, at the end of the day, can be proud of themselves for the way they handled something. Even if they have a tough road getting there. And I want to create characters that the reader will (hopefully) remember long after they close the book.

Is there a part of Sweet Surprise that you really love? What makes it special?

Okay, narrowing it down to just one part is really hard . . . but . . . (groan) okay, I’m going to divide this up into a part that I really love and a scene that I really love. How about that?

The part that I really love is Fiona’s love and relationship with her daughter. I was once a single mom and my daughter is now a single mom. It’s a tough job. Fiona questions herself all the time and wonders if she’s doing a good enough job with Izzy so her daughter will grow up with the least amount of baggage possible. She works hard to achieve that dream, but she’s realistic enough to know that she’s not perfect and somewhere along the way she’s going to hit a brick wall. But her love for Izzy is apparent in everything she does. And I love that part about her.

The scene that I really love is the one where Jana calls in her charity donation from the Black Ties and Levi’s Bachelor Auction and asks Fireman Mike to help Fiona move into her new house and get her cupcake shop started. Poor Mike isn’t quite sure what to make of Jana and her request, but it gives him the opportunity to look at things a different way. It helps him leave his baggage at the curb and open the door to his dream, even if he gets there kicking and screaming all the way.

Fiona and Mike both have a lot of baggage, but they’re both strong characters and after a few bumps and bruises, are able to push forward and grab hold of what really matters.


About the Author

Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She's experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to scooping up road apples left by her daughter's rodeo queening horse to working as a graphic designer. Only one thing has remained constant: Candis' passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after. Though her stories are set in small towns, Candis' wish is to give each of her characters a great big memorable love story rich with quirky characters, tons of fun, and a happy ending.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: In His Keeping by Maya Banks

In His Keeping (Slow Burn #2) by Maya Banks

Release Date: January 27, 2015
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Pages: 432
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#1 bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and steamy Slow Burn trilogy with this second book—a twisting tale featuring a strong yet vulnerable heroine in danger and the sexy alpha hero who must save her.

Abandoned as a baby to a young wealthy couple and raised in a world of privilege, Arial has no hint of her past or who she belonged to. Her only link lies in the one thing that sets her apart from everyone else—telekinetic powers. Protected by her adoptive parents and hidden from the public to keep her gift secret, Ari is raised in the lap of luxury, and isolation. That is, until someone begins threatening her life.

Beau Devereaux is no stranger to the strange. As the head of Deveraux Security, he’s more than familiar with the realities of physic powers. So when a family friend approaches him about protecting his daughter, he’s more than ready to jump on board. What Beau isn’t prepared for is the extent of his attraction to his beautiful and powerful client. What began as a simple assignment, just another job, quickly turns personal as Beau discovers he’ll do anything at all to protect Ari. Even if it costs him his life.

Excerpt from In His Keeping

GAVIN Rochester stood in the doorway of his enormous living room watching as his wife carefully examined a Christmas ornament before quietly replacing it in the box and tucking it back into the plastic basin they used to store Christmas decorations.

Her sadness instilled an ache inside his heart that made him physically rub his chest in an effort to alleviate the pain. But some wounds were simply too deep. Permanent and unable to heal. And her pain was unbearable to him because he couldn’t fix this for her. His connections, money, power. None of it meant anything if he couldn’t give his beloved wife what she wanted most. He felt her pain as keenly as if it were his own—and it was. Because he couldn’t stand for her to be unhappy. He’d move mountains just to make her smile.

She’d changed him. Made him a better man. A man he never thought he could be—never wanted to be. But she changed everything—his world—his place in his world. Suddenly he’d
wanted to be a better man. For her. Because it was what she deserved. And he would never place her in harm’s way with his business practices. It was a new experience for him. Living clean. In the light. Having someone who made him want to feel . . . worthy.

Then she turned from her sad perusal of the lone orna- ment, and when she saw him, her face lit up, rosy from the shining Christmas lights strung around the tree. He marveled at how, whenever she smiled at him, it took his breath away. It was something that would never go away. His love for his wife was like nothing he’d ever experienced in his life.
Staggering. Yet warm, like the flames in the fireplace. Unwavering. Without res- ervations, strings or conditions.

She loved
him, and that knowledge still had the power to bring him to his knees.

“That’s the last one,” she said, her gaze drifting one last time to the sole ornament that hadn’t been hung on the tree. Sorrow briefly chased the warmth from her eyes before she appeared to make a concerted effort to collect herself, and the grief filling her features slipped away, but he’d seen it. Knew it to be there no matter the effort she made not to let it show.

He crossed the room, no longer able to bear the distance between them. He pulled her into his arms and thrust his fingers into her long hair and then nuzzled the top of her head, inhaling her scent as his lips pressed to her glossy brunette strands.

“We’ll try again,” he murmured, trying to inject confidence and reassurance in his tone. And yet he knew he’d failed miserably. He sounded as dejected as he knew her to be. Not because she’d failed him. He could live his life with only her and never suffer a single regret. But he’d failed
her. He was unable to give her a child he knew she wanted with every breath.


About the Author

Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek

The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek

Release Date: January 27, 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: ARC for Tour from Edelweiss
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • iTunes • IndieBound

From Robin Antalek, author of The Summer We Fell Apart, comes an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends who explore what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and the difficulties in doing both together. Spanning over a decade, and told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them. It is the addictive and moving story of these old friends who wind up confronting their past in order to find happiness in their adult lives that make this novel an anticipated winter release.

Sam Turner, the summer he turns 15, feels lucky enough to enjoy the unexpected attention of his friend Suzie Epstein, even though it’s only a few secret months. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand—and will never question—the budding relationship is kept hidden from their close circle of friends. But before their summer tans can even start to fade, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving away to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie Epstein takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers while simultaneously planning an early escape to college to seek independence. Though she occasionally thinks of Sam, it’s her oldest friend Bella Spade she finds herself missing. Embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie could call home, Suzie makes no attempt to reconnect with the one person she needs. Its years later that a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother Michael will reunite her with both Sam and Bella—finally forcing her to confront her friends, her past and what she left behind.

After losing Suzie, Bella surprisingly finds her first real love in Sam. But his inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. Watching Suzie and Michael as they seem to have worked it all out, Bella’s only to wonder where she went wrong and how to make it right.

It's been a while since a story put me through the emotional gambit quite like The Grown Ups. At times I was left mixed up, hurting, but in this kind of wonderful way. This story just made me feel everything—from the warmth of love curling low in your belly to the hollowed-out insides of despair and flush of anger. While I can't claim my life really looks like any of these characters', there's a stark honesty to the way Antalek portrays the inter-weaving of their development that feels impossible to not relate to in some small way, at the very least. You will relive those awkward, terrible times of thinking you understood the world and your place in it, only to have that belief dashed over and over again. It's difficult to make it through at times for that very reasoninga visceral recalling of all of the moments of failed bravado and having to accept that no one ever really knows what will happen in life.

As far as the characters go, I was immediately drawn to Sam. I don't know if it's as simple as the fact that his was the first perspective shared or some more complex thread connecting us, but I often found myself falling into his feelings. The way Suzie treated him kept me irrationally angry at her for far longer than I should've been and I really didn't know who I wanted him to find his way to in the end between her and Bella. At times I resented his brother, Michael, for being the golden child that everyone wanted, just as Sam seemed to. So while I enjoyed parts of all three narratives, it was Sam's that really pulled me in, for reasons I won't delve to far into for now.

Throughout the entirety of the story, most of the moments that really stood out were nothing short of poetic. Antalek crafts prose that a some points has a flow so present that you have expect to see it in some stanza-ed format. I'd never read any of her books before, but it was certainly one of my absolute favorite parts. Because those lilting passages seemed to follow the path of the emotions behind them, only to be felt all the more intensely. It's possible I'm getting a tad over-dramatic, but that's how it felt for me. Sure, that effect may not be present for everyone. But for me it was something pretty damn special.

With all of that said, there were a couple of struggles. For one, I had trouble keeping the timeline straight on more than one occasion because of the narrative switching and time jumps. Honestly, though, once I sopped worrying about it and just kind of decided I'd more or less figure out where we were, that frustration disappeared. Secondly, some portions of the narrative seemed to drag a bit. Then, upon reflection, I didn't even care, because they chronicled those points in time where you feel at a standstill and like nothing is happening to you, but the world just keeps on turning. And within this particular story, with these particular players, those times really needed to be acknowledged.

Overall, The Grown Ups is everything you would expect from a coming-of-age novel: full of emotion, the fumbles we make, and just everything else that is life. For me, this book represents some of the very best of what these types of stories have to offer. So if you're a fan of such chronicling tales, I highly recommend giving it a chance. Even the times that seemed to drag packed the kind of punch that only comes from recognizing yourself and our own life in the pieces of a character's. This book offers the kind of kinship and acknowledgment of all the twists and turns we go through so you feel just a little bit less alone at the end. And there's just something so incredible about it.

Excerpt from The Grown Ups

Years ago on a December night in their junior year of high school they had been in Peter Chang’s basement before the winter dance, when Sam had turned to Bella, his eyes as navy as his sweater, and said, “So?”

It began as simply as that, friends who had known each other since they were in diapers. Sam made her happy. Just the sight of him as his cheeks flushed a deep shade of red was all it took. She wanted to kiss him and she knew that he probably wanted to kiss her too. Later, when they had all stumbled from Peter’s basement, wandering through the streets of their neighborhood to the high school, Sam had bumped up against her shoulder and she had found his hand down by his side and grabbed hold of his fingers. He wound them through hers and hadn’t let go, and right then in that moment she had been so sure of everything she had ever wanted.

Since her mother’s funeral, Bella had been stuck on that memory, and she didn’t know why. Maybe it was only the ache of nostalgia. She wanted to lie in bed alone and go over every minute she had spent in Sam’s arms. But then she had noticed the way her mother was looking at her and instead she had crawled into bed with her and whispered about Sam. The mustard light in the room was diffused by the angle of the bathroom door, and she caught a glimpse of her mother’s face in the shadows. She was smiling but there was also something sad in her expression.


About the Author

Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart. Her nonfiction writing has been published in literary journals and in several collections, including The Beautiful Anthology; Writing off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema; and The Weeklings: Revolution #1 Selected Essays 2012-1013. Her short fiction has appeared in 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, The Southeast Review, and Literary Mama among others. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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