Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams

Darkness Watching (Darkworld #1) by Emma L. Adams

Release Date: September 30, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her,  and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...

About the Author

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and will be published in September 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Website   •   Blog   •   Facebook   •   Twitter   •   Goodreads

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: August 27, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 364
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Purchased by Reviewer (Amazon)
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N

***Warning: if you have not read Obsidian, Onyx, and Opal, there will be spoilers.***

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?

I didn't get a ton of time to read Origin until today, but I'd read just enough reviews (spoiler free, of course) and spent enough time on Twitter to see the "game-changing" description tossed around. It's not that I didn't believe the reviewers, but I was stuck in this situation of "how much can things really change?"

The answer is a WHOLE. FREAKING. LOT.

And, since this is a JLA title, there's only one way to do it up right...

That's right, kids. It's Supernatural gif time.

After the Barnes & Noble early release sadness (for me and those like me), I was so amped to receive my copy on Tuesday, that when I pulled it out of the mailbox, I shrieked, completely aloud, while Caroline laughed her ass off like the good friend she is. The next 10 or so minutes were basically just this:

I didn't put the freaking thing down for more than 30 seconds for a good long while. And we're not talking reading. Just touching. And talking to it. And possibly petting it a little. This is basically the point where I admit to the internet that I am probably not what would classically be described as a "sane individual."

And you know what, internet?

So, there was a point to this. And that was to say that Origin is, in my opinion, ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY AMAZEBALLS. Probably my favorite in the series. It's hard for me to pick, but the feels. So many feels. The action was more intense, the plot progression was fantastic, and Daemon and Katy were... well...

I think you get the point.

And let's talk about Daemon for a sec. This is the first book where we consistently get his point of view, and you'd be hard pressed not to fall even more in love with him. It really just went to confirm what a wonderful guy he is under the douchebag and make him an even better character. Really getting to directly see the depth of his love for Kat and his family, rather than secondhand through Kat, will make your heart squeeze in the best kind of way. But, despite all the gooey-ness, rest assured there are plenty of eye rolls and slap-him-upside-the-head urges contained within. It is Daemon, after all.

Despite Daemon's awesomeness as an individual, one of the best parts of the book overall was the evenness that's developed in his relationship with Katy. They're finally, after everything, treating each other as complete equals. While still constantly risking themselves for each other, of course. But it made them even more enjoyable and lovable as a couple. Like we needed any help with that.

It should also be noted that I cried. More than once. Some of it was happiness, but certainly not all. There are a couple of sucker punches in here that were hard to get through for me. It was an emotional roller coaster, but it's to be expected with a climax this epic. For real. It's incredible; more so than I ever could have imagined. And the results will be immeasurable.

Basically, read it. Immediately. Really. GO. NOW. It was amazing, and I can't wait for Opposition (Lux #5), despite not being sure if I'm emotionally ready for it.

Seriously; earlier this was me externally and is now me on the inside (last one, I swear):

Cover Reveal: Reckless Longing by Gina Robinson

Reckless Longing (Reckless #1) by Gina Robinson

Release Date: September 23, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Ellie Martin hates her beautiful, man-crazy mother. Her mother’s wild and wanton behavior has left Ellie with a deep longing. To escape. To belong. To know who her real dad is. To really be loved. Her mother finally crosses a line thatsends Ellie running, escaping to college with one, focused goal–to find and confront her bio dad, who doesn’t even know she exists. Then she meets Logan. Hot, charming, and troubled. He turns her world upside down and puts all her plans in jeopardy.

Logan Walker is hiding a shameful and painful secret. One that nearly cost him everything. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Ellie at a Week of Welcome event, something inside him awakens and he finds himself drawn to her.

But the attraction they both feel for each other is as delicate as the web of secrets they each hide behind. And as the truths are revealed,  their reckless longing may not survive the fallout.

About the Author

Gina Robinson loves humor, romance, suspense, and spies. Not necessarily in that order. Her latest toy is a video spy pen. She plans on putting her engineering degree to good use by building a tasar out of a disposable camera using the instructions and schematics from The Evil Genius series. Fair warning--she hasn't held a soldering iron in quite a few years.

She writes contemporary romance featuring sexy spies and plenty of adventure and humor. The Spy Who Left Me, the first book in her new Agent Ex series, published by St. Martin's Press, is available now. Diamonds Are Truly Forever, the next book in the series, will be released on May 22, 2012. Her first two novels are published by Zebra Books, Kensington Publishing.

She's also published a humorous women's fiction novel, Pink Slipper. If you like Sophie Kinsella, you'll enjoy Pink Slipper.

Website   •   Goodreads   •   Facebook   •    Twitter

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Book Blitz: First Kiss by Cindy M. Hogan

First Kiss (Confessions of a 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips #1) by Cindy M. Hogan

Release Date: July 3, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads • Amazon

VL. Virgin Lips. You may not have heard of it, but where I live, it’s a thing with a card, even if it is a figurative card. I was Brooklyn Hill, certified virgin lips, and I planned on clinging to that figurative card with all I had—while dating as many of the hottest guys at school as I could.

Maybe that’s a bit strange. I mean, what teenage girl isn’t interested in kissing? Locking lips definitely interested me, but the drama that came with it didn’t. No kissing, no drama. Simple.

But on my sixteenth birthday, on my first real date even, the drama found me. His name was Luke Graham—cute, funny, and bad news for the whole female race.


Win a copy of Protected, Cindy's other book!

Blog   •   Facebook

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Blitz: After Alex Died by Dakota Madison

After Alex Died by Dakota Madison

Release Date: July 19, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Romance

“Don’t be someone who defines her life by someone else’s death.”

Dee Dee DeMarco’s brother, Alex, was funny, free-spirited and creative. He was also gay. Tormented by bullies, Alex killed himself on his 15th birthday.

Two years later, and now in college, Dee Dee believes getting a summer job working with a college-prep program for disadvantaged high school students is a stroke of luck, until she discovers that the guy assigned to co-lead her group is Cameron Connelly, a star basketball player and one of the bullies who tormented her brother to death. How can Dee Dee possibly spend the entire summer working so closely with one of the boys she blames for her brother’s death?


About the Author

Dakota Madison has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Review: An Original Sin by Nina Bangs

An Original Sin (Wink and a Kiss #3) 
by Nina Bangs

Release Date: July 1, 1999
Genre: Adult, Romance, Time Travel
Pages: 394
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Goodreads • Amazon

Fortune MacDonald listened to women’s fantasies on a daily basis as she took their orders for customized me. In a time when the male species was extinct, she was a valued manmaker. She had created some of the best prototypes around—from Stud-Muffin-Stuart to the ever popular Hunka-Hunka-Burning-Love-Leroy model.

So when she awoke to find herself sharing a bed with the most lifelike, virile man she had ever laid eyes or hands on, she let her gaze inventory his assets. From his long dark hair, to his knife-edged cheekbones, to his broad shoulders, to his jutting—well, all in the name of research, right?—it didn’t take an expert any time at all to realize that he was the genuine article, a bona fide man. And when Leith Campbell took her in his arms, she knew real passion for the first time…but had she found true love?

WARNING: Spoilers lie ahead for those of ye who wish to look upon this book. Continue with caution!

I laughed. I cried. I peed a little.

As I was wandering through a local bookstore, I caught sight of an interesting read: An Original Sin. I was absolutely thrilled to find this novel, with a bare-chested, kilted man offering me an apple with a mischievous wink on the cover. After all, I really did need to brush up on my knowledge of Genisis.

I mean, we all know that the guy on the cover had to be Adam, right? Because, y’know, Adam totally would've worn a kilt…and he probably would've winked.

Well, my dear friends, I am here to inform you, much to my dismay and yours (I’m sure), that we were wrong! The fact that it was located in the Romance section of the bookstore did not deter me, because I logically assumed that a nice novel about Adam and Eve and their fall from Grace would be one of love. However, in retrospect, I see the flawed logic.  And come to think of it, I strongly suspect that Nina Bangs is hardly her real name. Well played, Bangs, well played. You got me this time!

No wonder the check-out-guy smirked at me….

Nonetheless, I read this three hundred ninety-four paged account of a love that transcends time. Oh, yes! There is time travel involved! Two opposites, a Scottish Warrior from 1700 and a woman from 2300, where there are no men, are brought together in Houston, Texas in the year 2000 by the forces of a demonic cat. What is the result? About 150 pages of will-they-won’t-they tension, followed by two pages of apparently tearinducing (because it was that good?) sex and then followed by another 100 pages of will-they-won’t-they do it again and concluding with a happy ending where Fortune leaves her time and the year 2000 to stay in the 1700 with her sex-warrior-dude. Good for her.

I feel the need to add a disclaimer here. The reason I gave this three-out-of-five stars is because of the sheer entertainment value. The story was hilarious, but I felt like I was reading something out of a fanfiction that a 13 year-old wrote. The characters were terribly inconsistent, but that only added to my glee while reading.

Even with the major holes in logic (which spring just as often from the ever-logical Fortune as they do from the hotheaded Leith) it was an entertaining read. No, really! Someone gets pummeled with a phone. Leith decides to join a biker gang within the first 100 pages. They’re stalked all over Houston by an ice-cream-man sent from heaven. And apparently nobody notices that a cat wanders around a mall, grocery store and movie theater with the two, out-of-joint lovers!

Speaking of Ganymede, the demon-cat, he was a hilarious narrator! I really connected with him. He truly stole the show and brings trolling to a whole new level. It’s quite refreshing to read about such a devious character with poor diction mess with the lives of two people. I only wish he received a spin-off novel, narrating his adventures.... I would totally read them for a good laugh.

Cover Reveal: Wings of Memory by Anna Kyss

Wings of Memory (The Underground Trilogy #2)
by Anna Kyss

Release Date: September 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Kiernan leaves his homeland, hoping to unlock the secrets that could save his people from extinction. But the path to answers is fraught with danger. He never imagines what lay hidden in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Shortly after arriving, Kiernan encounters the human girl that he spent months yearning for. Kiernan must decide between his love for Meghan and his budding loyalty to his brother, Avery. He tries to place his brother first, until faced with an impossible decision.

Kiernan must tap into magic to save his people. The only problem: unleashing his magic involves breaking his vow to his brother. What if the only way to help Avery is to choose Meghan?

Wings of Memory is a young adult, urban fantasy that weaves together supernatural lore, romance, magic, and an interesting take on Mesoamerican history. It is the second novel in The Underground Trilogy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cover Reveal: Finding Forever by Melisa M. Hamling

Finding Forever by Melisa M. Hamling

Release Date: August 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Through the splinters of glass, I see his face, the one who has this hold on me, on my soul, and I know he holds the key to something I have yet to learn.

Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. Morgan Master’s is about to find out that what you wish for doesn’t come in a perfect little package.

Plummeting off the side of the mountain wasn’t the escape Morgan had planned. Or was it? Disconnected from who she was, where she came from, Morgan knows she’s in a hot mess when the lines blur between two worlds. What is real and what is imagined? Her inner struggle to find herself and to learn the truth, leads her into the arms of Ben, the perfect little package she once wished for, but doesn’t remember it.

Ben is Morgan’s solace, her guide through her state of confusion, offering comfort and love to degrees she is certain she has never known before. Longing to stay in the heavenly bliss, something keeps pulling her back, a little at a time.

When Morgan’s world crumbles, she endures weeks of heartbreak. She must decide between this life, or go in search of the unknown, in search of reestablishing the love she had for the man who helped her survive. What must she sacrifice to find him? Does he really exist? What will she uncover when she goes in search of Finding Forever?

About the Author

I grew up in Colorado and moved to Nebraska in the latter half of my teen years, where I've remained. I have a great family and my father is James Dean. Yep! The James Dean. Okay in name only, but I still love to say it. I have the best husband ever! He's not afraid to do the laundry, or the dishes, and dang. He's had to survive four females and a whole lot of hormones. Poor guy! We have three beautiful daughters, and our only sons, Robby and Bentley, are of course, cats. They refuse to acknowledge their furry background, and so continue to live as humanly as possible.

Most of my work experience has been in healthcare giving me the opportunity to work with a variety of people, ranging from newborn to elderly. My true passion is writing. I'm captivated by stories that delve into facets of the human behavior: affliction, fidelity, passion, betrayal, and redemption. I prefer to take my characters through a physical journey where they learn something about themselves or take them to new and exciting places, but there is always romance involved.

Website   •   Goodreads   •   Twitter

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Falling for the Good Guy by Violet Duke

Falling for the Good Guy (Nice Girl to Love #2) by Violet Duke

Release Date: June 30, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 124
Format: eBook
Source: Review Copy from Author
Goodreads • Amazon

***Warning: if you have not read Resisting the Bad Boy, there will be spoilers.***

Abby Bartlett is well aware that everyone thinks she's in love with her best friend Brian. He is, after all, the type of man a nice girl should be with--the polar opposite of the bad boy--the kind of guy who didn't let his wife's decade-long illness stop him from showering her with a lifetime of love every second until her dying day. Yes, Brian has been the yardstick against which Abby has measured all other men. But everyone's wrong; she couldn't possibly be in love with him.

Because she's never once allowed herself that option.

It's taken a while but Brian Sullivan has finally come to terms with being a widower at the age of thirty, surviving the woman he spent half his life loving, a third of it losing. Truth is though, he wouldn't have 'survived' any of it really had it not been for Abby--sweet, incredible Abby--the woman he's never once had to picture his life without, never realized he couldn't truly live without. Until now. Now that he's finally able to love her the way she deserves, the way he knows she wants to be his brother.

Who's giving him exactly one chance to speak now or forever hold his peace.

We last left Abby at the end of her one month with Connor - a month that ended, just as he'd promised, despite everything they felt for each other. In her struggle to mend her broken heart, Abby returns to her life and her best friend, Brian, and his family. But on New Year's, everything may just change for Abby. That is, if Brian has anything to say about it.

I. Love. Brian. He is the best kind of guy: sweet, loving, and kind. And, probably most importantly for Abby, emotionally available. He's also not willing to let Abby go without taking a shot and trying to take them past being 'just friends'. A shot that really packs a whammy, if you ask me.

There was a whole new level of sweetness in this book that hadn't been there for me in Resisting the Bad Boy, because of the obvious differences between the brothers. The only thing they had in common, really, was both Connor and Brian had a tumultuous past - but they really couldn't have manifested any differently. Learning the extent of everything Brian went through with his late wife was heart-wrenching and even hard to read at times. This is a man that loves fiercely and with nothing held back - evident in the stories of his wife, his relationship with his daughter, and his feelings for Abby. There is no one more deserving of a second chance at love than him.

Overall, a great continuation of the series, with another ending that will leave you wanting!

Cover Reveal: Death is but a Dream by Erin Hayes

Death is but a Dream by Erin Hayes

Release Date: Fall 2013
Genre: Adult, Fantasy

Caught between life and death, all Callie wants is to live again.

Homicide detective Callie Saunders knows that death isn’t all pearly gates and angels. After being hit by a bus, she finds that it's the ancient gods and goddesses of Greek mythology who are in charge of everything.

So when Hades offers her a deal, she accepts. If she wants to be brought back to life, she’ll have to figure out who is trying to kill his son. But if she fails, both her soul and the world will be destroyed.

With the odds mounting against her, it’ll take everything she has within her to wake up from death. But the rules are constantly changing. And someone wants her to stay dead.

About the Author

Erin Gulyas is an advertising copywriter. Erin Hayes is her alter ego that writes book in her spare time. This is the blog of Erin Hayes.

Website   •   Twitter   •   Goodreads

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Resisting the Bad Boy by Violet Duke

Resisting the Bad Boy (Nice Girl to Love #1) 
by Violet Duke

Release Date: March 28, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 145
Format: eBook
Source: Review Copy from Author
Amazon • Goodreads

***Warning: This book contains adult content and may not be suitable for younger readers. This review will not contain any such material.***

Abby Bartlett is the quintessential nice girl. Between teaching, volunteering, completing her PhD, and helping her best friend raise his daughter, Abby never gets the chance to be anything but nice. That is, until the all-wrong-for-her man she's only ever known from afar starts daring her to simply take that chance for herself. His sage advice? Try something wild and fast.

Preferably him.

An unbridled, hotshot attorney with a not-so-little black book, Connor Sullivan has earned himself quite the bad boy reputation. But in his defense, he's a very conscientious one. He knows far too well that sometimes in life, love isn't enough...or worse, not even a factor at all. To avoid that misery--and repel the drama--Connor always makes his one and only rule crystal clear right from the start. Absolutely nothing more than a month.

Turns out, a whole lot can happen in one month.

Abby Bartlett is an every-girl: she works hard, takes care of those close to her, and has a certain soft spot for bad boys. Connor Sullivan is just one such boy, which hasn't escaped Abby's notice. The fact that Abby's best friend, Brian, also happens to be Connor's brother, means that they've been thrown together quite a bit over the years. Then one day it's not just Abby noticing Connor. He may be just as interested. And suddenly, the good girl might want to get a little bad...

Resisting the Bad Boy was a fun, quick read with a solid romance and some really likable characters. It won't be hard for a lot of readers to relate to Abby, and Connor, of course, will be revealed to have a heart of gold. Their courtship is a steamy whirlwind (because one month really isn't a whole lot of time) and you'll find yourselves routing for them to clamber past their hang-ups and just be together, as so often happens in the genre.

Probably my favorite part of the story was the glimpse into Abby's life - especially the parts with Brian and his daughter. The back story there is heartbreaking but beautiful, and I loved their interactions. There's a lot of love there and it's really apparent how big a part of Abby's life they are.

For me, Connor lacked a little something. Don't get me wrong, he's plenty swoon-worthy, but I felt like he wasn't given quite as robust a back story and didn't come off as a as well-rounded character in comparison. It rests a little to heavily on the bad-boy-with-a-good-heart laurels and doesn't show us how that really came about.

Overall, it was a great pleasure read! A really solid New Adult read that will have you itching for the next in the series (because, oh, goodness, cliffhanger). The Kindle format is also currently free on Amazon, so there's no reason not to check it out!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

Nomad by J.L. Bryan

Release Date: July 21, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Dystopian, Time Travel
Pages: 204
Format: eBook
Source: Review Copy from Author
Amazon • Goodreads

***Warning: This book contains adult content and may not be suitable for younger readers. This review will not contain any such material.***

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.

Time travel is one of those subjects that has the ability to completely span the quality spectrum.When well-executed, it can be truly incredible, enthralling and really make the reader think about the way the concept plays out. But time travel also has some of the greatest headache potential of almost any subject matter. Nomad did a great job of handling the difficulty of semantics involved while not over-complicating the plot progression or allowing the circumstances to become nonsensical. And the way J.L. Bryan dealt with a change in timeline was unique in the selection I've read and really added a new gravity to the choice time travelers are making.

The novel opens with a literal bang as Raven, our token rebel time-traveler, is dropped in the middle of a highway 50 years in the past (complete with a case of amnesia) and narrowly avoids being hit by a truck. It doesn't take long to learn she's not the only one that made the jump, as members of her targets security force attempt to interfere with her mission.

I really loved the descriptions of Raven's future world - it was the kind of future we all fear, possibly because it seems so in-reach. This was further emphasized when we meet Raven's world's future dictator, who is just so ordinary, given what we've learned about what he'll become. It also has just a touch of the time travel Butterfly Effect as Raven assimilates to the modern world and attempts to save the future.

This is definitely something I would recommend to fans of dystopian and time travel novels. It's well-paced, with a great dose of action and a lot of consideration of what choices and events help determine who we'll become. If you're looking for an entertaining read along these lines, look no further!