Month: January 2015

Rise Blitz & Giveaway

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Adult Contemporary Rockstar Romance

Release: January 28, 2015

Amazon Print | Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

“You have the ability to make controversial characters sympathetic. Maybe I just want to be understood.”

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes. So bad boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir. Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions – manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic, morally ambiguous.

In short, everything she sought in a biography subject. When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.

Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed-devil is only too willing to stoke. She’d thought self-control was in her DNA, after all she grew up a minister’s daughter. She thought wrong.

Outside your comfort zone is the only place worth living…

Zander Freedman has been an outlier – many would say an outcast – for most of his life. But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the break-up of his band to the fall-out on his reputation. His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph – if his golden voice holds out. Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz; Elizabeth’s integrity the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.

All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not make him think.

Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out. And certainly not to fall in love for the first time in his life.

Turns out he is scared of something – being known.

Rise – a redemption story of a rock star going straight(er) through the love of a good(ish) woman.

 

 

The rock star & the academic: Making opposites attract

By Karina Bliss

I love the opposites-attract trope, ‘You say toe-ma-toe, I say toe-mate-o’. (FYI, as a Kiwi, I say it the first way). I couldn’t have written two people more different than my egotistical, rock-star bad boy Zander Freedman and my warm-hearted, church-brat academic Elizabeth Winston.

With opposites, it’s easy to see what’s keeping your characters apart. But when you’re writing romance, what’s more important is what brings and binds these two together. What do they have in common? Both Zander and Elizabeth are smart, independent, take-charge people who share a similar sense of the ridiculous, and I made sure my plot gave them opportunities to join forces.

I found this wonderful Oscar Wilde quote, which I adopted as my theme for Rise. “Every saint has a past, and every sinner a future.” As I wrote the book, it reminded me to add dimensions to my story characters. Just because my heroine is a good person doesn’t mean she lacks a wild side, and vice versa for the hero.

Opposites or not, the hero and heroine need to appreciate each other in a way no one else does. In Zander, Elizabeth sees a caretaker hero, capable of kindness and vulnerability. In Elizabeth, Zander sees a wolf in sheep’s clothing, someone as adventurous as he is.

In a romance, the challenge for opposites is to incorporate the qualities of the other – the qualities they lack – so two halves become a perfect whole.

Can you recommend favorite romances that use this dynamic? Enter the Release Giveaway and go into the draw for an e-book of Rise.

 

About the Author

New Zealander Karina Bliss’s debut, Mr Imperfect, won a Romantic Book of the Year award in Australia, the first of eleven books published through Harlequin SuperRomance. Her most recent release, A Prior Engagement, was a Desert Island Keeper at likesbooks.com. Her next release, Rise, is a single title, self-published contemporary which continues the story of Zander Freedman, who first appeared as a villain inKarina’s bestselling title, What the Librarian Did – a book that made DearAuthor’s Best of the Year list in 2010.Two of Karina’s books have also featured in Sizzling Book Chats at SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.

Find out more at www.karinabliss.com

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Pawn

Pawn (Pawn, #1)Pawn by Maya St. James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4 Stars

My ace in the hole. The Perfect pawn.

I love a good moody, arrogant (and hopefully) redeemable douchebag hero and that’s just what Senator Graham Delaney happens to be.

Eleanor “Elle” Courtney’s father also happens to be in the Senate and he’s just recently cut her off financially. With only one semester of college left, Elle is determined to find a way to pay for school without her family’s help.

Waiting tables might not be an easy job, but Elle is willing to whatever it takes to pay her tuition. But when she’s let go after only a week she’s not left with a lot of options.

Graham Delaney loves sex but not commitment. Working in politics he has to choose very wisely when picking a woman to sleep with to avoid any scandal, and when he meets the beautiful Elle Courtney everything he needs and wants just happens to fall right in his lap.

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Graham offers to pay Elle’s tuition in exchange for the semester with him, and only him. While technically she’s getting paid for sex, Elle decides this is an offer she can’t refuse. And really, what’s the worst that can happen? Graham is wickedly sexy and doesn’t want to expose their relationship to the public so the plan sounds perfect. Except what Elle doesn’t know is she’s really a Pawn in a much bigger game that Graham’s told her nothing about.

…she’s my pawn, and my lust for her is nothing but a game.

Wow, this was an awesome novella. Graham’s truly a douchebag but I loved it and I can’t wait to see how this story is going to play out.

Book 1 of a 3 part serial.
Volume 1 (ebook) : January 27, 2015
Volume 2 (ebook): February 14, 2015
Volume 3 (ebook): February 27, 2015
Vol 1 to 3 Paperback: February 27, 2015

*ARC kindly provided by Maya St. James in exchange for an honest review*

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Start Me Up

Start Me Up
My rating: 3.5 Stars

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3.5 Cute Stars

Mike Everett doesn’t have everything, but he has everything a twenty-nine year old bachelor needs. He owns a successful business, has lots of friends and even the occasional night out with a sexy female.

Anne runs a party planning business and a successful “how to be creative” blog. From the outside she appears perfect but on the inside she’s still a single divorced thirty-two year old mother.

Mike was asked to do a simple favor. Drop his niece off at a birthday party. What he wasn’t expecting was to be lusting after the host of the party who just happens to look like a Betty Crocker Playmate. Anne is gorgeous, and everything she does seems effortless and now Mike is starting to wonder what life might be like with Anne, her daughter and their own white-picket-fence.

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Anne can plan and host the perfect party, but that’s not how she would describe herself. She might not be fat and ugly but she still has issues with the extra curves she found over the years. Mike claims she looks perfect, but she’s seen the type of woman he’s “dated” in the past, which makes it hard for her to believe he really wants her and maybe he doesn’t. To keep her heart safe she decides to cherish her time with this sexy man before he wakes up and moves on and hopefully by then she’ll have enough memories to last her while.

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This is the first time I’ve read anything from this author so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but over all I enjoyed it. Start Me Up is truly a cute straight up love story that lacks any real angst. I would even go as far as to say it’s a very typical romance novel as nothing unique stood out to me but I will repeat…I did like it and Mike is the reason why. He’s an alpha male who’s confident and possessive with a nice touch of “dirty talker” in him, which are all the qualities I enjoy with in a book hero.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A Father’s Fight

A Father's Fight (Fighting, #5)A Father’s Fight by J.B. Salsbury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon pre-order: http://amzn.to/1vFNkeW

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4-4.5 Stars

J.B. Salsbury is an author I truly enjoy. She blew me away almost two years ago with her debut novel Fighting for Flight and I have been a fan ever since. While a professional fighting series isn’t all that unique, the unexpected twist and turns she delivers in each story keep you guessing.

The first four books in this series can be read as a standalone. However, you should read Fighting to Forgive (book 2) to discover Blake and Layla’s journey to happiness before starting A Father’s Fight.

Blake went from a carefree bachelor with a different woman on his arm each night to a devoted father and soon to be husband to Layla and Axelle. But now with Layla pregnant with his child, there’s no limit to his possessive protective ways. Especially now that the past is threating their future.

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When an author decides to add on to a story that is already complete in the readers mind, it’s a huge risk. I know a lot of readers (including myself) feel that and once you place a couple on a HEA shelf you hate to get them back out for unnecessary drama that might taint your thoughts of the original story. But that’s not the case with A Father’s Fight. Blake and Layla struggle to put the past behind them but their love for each other remains unconditional.

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Blake is a nervous wreck while Layla’s pregnant. Keeping her safe and worrying about his abilities to be a good father are always on his mind. When he’s asked to go see his parents just days before Layla is due to deliver his child, he’s finally given the chance to face the one person who’s made him doubt himself.

Eighteen years ago, Layla future was robbed in a single night. The only good thing she walked away with was Axelle. She thinks she knows what happened that night, but she remembers nothing. But someone claims that have all the answers she needs, she just needs to stop and face the past.

Blake and Layla discover the journey they’ve traveled, both painful and beautiful was worth every moment when they are handed life’s most precious gift…their child.

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*ARC kindly provided by Give Me Books in exchange for an honest review*

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vFNkeW

Falling For Jillian

Falling for Jillian (Love Under the Big Sky, #3)Falling for Jillian by Kristen Proby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4 Stars

I’m a huge fan of Kristen Proby, not only is she a talented author, but she also consistently delivers strong alpha males which is always my cuppa when looking for my next book.

Falling For Jillian is the third book of “Love Under the Big Sky” however each book in this series can read as a standalone. While this might not be my all time favorite of Ms. Proby’s (that honor goes to Come Away with Me-Mr. Luke Williams) it’s without a doubt my favorite of this series. I have to admit, if I see a new release from Kristen Proby I know I’m going to read it, and Zach King is exactly why.

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Zach King accidentally became a father at a very young age. To ensure he could provide for his new family he enlisted in the arm. After years of services and multiple tours to Iraq, he returns home to a son who needs him more than his country.

Jillian Sullivan wanted a baby. Her desire and need to have a child pushed her through years of physical and emotional torture for just the possibility that she could get pregnant by a husband who in the end, cheats on her.

Six months ago, Zach and Jillian shared an incredible night together, one that neither of them can forget. Only a misunderstanding has kept them apart. When Jillian returns home to Montana, she knows she’s going to see Zach, but she’s not about to admit what that night meant to her.

Zach never meant for Jillian to think what they shared was just a one-night stand, but when she acts like she couldn’t care less, he decides to roll with it. Only the more he’s around her, the more he wants her and he’s not about to let anyone, including Jillian stand in the way of something he wants.

Zach comes as a packaged deal. Being with him means excepting his twelve year old son, Seth. But Jillian’s motherly instincts have kicked in and being around Seth ends up being the one the best decisions she’s ever made.

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I truly loved Zach. He’s a complete alpha male- possessive and dominate and such a strong protector that he was able to melt my panties. Jillian’s makes for a strong heroine who’s finally ready to stand up for herself. After years of being with a husband who didn’t treat her right, she’s finally ready to stand up for herself. And I can’t forget Seth. His character really added to the story and my heart completely broke at times for him. Overall, Falling for Jillian is a sweet romance that’s fairly low on the angst level, without being overly sweet. If you’re a fan of Kristen Proby, or looking a for a amazing alpha male, or just want an easy romantic read than I highly recommend this one!

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Falling For Jillian expected release date is January 27th, 2015.

Devlin Unleashed

Devlin UnLeashedDevlin UnLeashed by Bethany Bazile

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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3.5 Stars

Devlin Unleashed is a fairly gritty dark novel. Devlin is a complicated man that’s keeping a secret from the woman he loves. The layers of his deceit and betrayal have no boundaries and the monster that lives within him is always lurking in the shadows.

The story breaks down into three parts, but isn’t told in the correct timeline. The book starts off when Juliana bumps into a man while leaving a coffee shop. She’s finishing her last semester of college in Washington with plans to return home to Chicago after graduation. When Juliana sees her mystery man from the coffee shop again while out drinking with friends her body reacts differently to him than any other man she’s met. It fuels her desire and lust to the point that she purposely over-looks her own instincts that are telling her to be beware.

Devlin didn’t accidently meet Juliana, she’s unknowingly been apart of his life for years. He should walk away from her, return to the shadows but the devil inside of him wants her too much to let go. It’s not long before the two of them become addicted to each other.

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“Just so we’re clear. I’m going to fuck you, angel…in a beautiful way, and then in a dirty way. And once you let me corrupt your body, I’m going to continue to do so every single night.”

Juliana’s father and ex-boyfriend can see Devlin for the monster he is and they don’t stop searching for the truth until they ultimately shatter Juliana’s world.

The second part of the story actually happened before part one. We learn the secrets Devlin’s been keeping and the pain that Juliana lived through. The third part of the story happens a couple of years later. Good or bad, Devlin and Juliana have impacted each other lives. When Juliana left, she completely destroyed him. Juliana might not want him, but he wants her and the monster inside of him just won’t allow her to walk away.

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Over all I enjoyed this one but there were two things I didn’t care for. The first one happened Devlin and Juliana first start dating. I enjoyed them together and I got caught up in the mystery surrounding their relationship, but the next thing I know Juliana is talking about how they have been together for months already. I think I would have felt Devlin’s betrayal more if their time together didn’t get skipped over as much. And the second one is just a personal pet peeve. During the years they are apart, Devlin claims he can’t move on without Juliana but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out other woman.  I think that part was to play up the antihero part, but personally I could have done without it.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Filthy Beautiful Forever

Filthy Beautiful Forever (Filthy Beautiful Lies, #4)Filthy Beautiful Forever by Kendall Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4 Stars

This forth book in the Filthy Beautiful Lies series is about Colton and Pace’s older brother Collins. Collins is the more serious one of the bunch. After their mother died when Collins was only fourteen, he took on more of a parental role with his two younger brothers. Collins is now thirty and his world revolves around his business and his brothers. But he gets a serious wake up call when his childhood best friend suddenly shows up at his front door after not seeing her for fifteen years.

Mia has a lot of wonderful childhood memories and they all include Collins Drake. He was her first friend, her first love, and the boy she gave her virginity to. After just turning thirty, Mia’s life takes a turn for the worst and suddenly she thinking about a pinky swear that she made with Collins over twenty years ago. With nothing to lose, Mia decides to seek out her long lost friend and see if the same spark that once set her on fire still exists.

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After fifteen years, it’s clear that Mia and Collins still have a strong connection with each other and it appears that they would make the perfect couple. There’s just one little problem standing in their way…Collins live in girlfriend of three years.

”We can’t just pinky swear and then live happily ever after.”

I think Kendall Ryan is a great author, but I’m the first to admit that I tend to have a love/hate relationship with her hero’s. I loved Colton, but didn’t like Pace so I was nervous about how I would feel about Collins and then add in the fact that he had a live in girlfriend when Mia reappears in his life, it sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. So, I’m extremely pleased at how Filthy Beautiful Forever turned out. I picked up my kindle and read the whole book in one sitting.

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Til Death, Volume Two

'Til Death, Volume Two ('Til Death, #2)‘Til Death, Volume Two by Bella Jewel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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3.5 Stars

I destroyed a soul. I created my own nightmare. There is no forgiveness for that.

Marcus was anything except honest when it came to Katia. He’s deceived her in unforgiveable ways and finally pushed her away for good. But Marcus wasn’t prepared for the emptiness he feels now that Katia has disappeared from his life and he’s desperate to find her.

Katia didn’t know what real pain felt like until she discovered that she was married to a cold-hearted monster. Almost two years later, and she’s still as bitter as the day she walked out on him. Now she only needs two things…a divorce and revenge.

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Marcus and Katia’s story didn’t turn out quite how I suspected it would. Katia’s life after leaving Marcus becomes quite complicated and how she handles her secrets and her desire for revenge makes her just as twisted as Marcus.

Once again I left her devastated and broken. Only this time she returned the favor. She took my soul, the same way I’d taken hers, and she crushed it.

Marcus and Katia learn that love isn’t always beautiful, it isn’t always easy, and sometimes you have to set it free in order to move forward.

‘Til Death, volume two completes Marcus and Katia’s story and should be read after reading ‘Til Death, Volume One.

The Untouchables

The Untouchables (Ruthless People, #2)The Untouchables by J.J. McAvoy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4.25 Stars

I wasn’t sure what was coming, but I knew it was coming straight from hell.

We met the incredibly insane Callahan family in Ruthless People and I can assure you their demented ways haven’t changed a bit. The suspense, the banter, and the psychotic twist were just as phenomenal as the first book.

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My mother…was dead. She died when I was young…she was murdered when I was little…but that was a lie.

Everything Melody knows about her past appears to be a lie. Growing up knowing her mother was murdered wasn’t easy but having the knowledge that she’s alive isn’t something she wrap her brain around. Not only is Aviela alive, she’s out for blood…Callahan blood.

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When it comes to Liam and Melody’s marriage, sex appears to be the only thing they can agree on. With new targets out to take them down, while trying to ensure their families safety, they seem to fall into one complication after another.


“Being untouchable is just an illusion people like us create to intimidate others. Everyone has a weakness.”

Liam’s love for Melody is with out a doubt his weakness. Aviela manages to toy with his family without getting caught. She’s always there just lurking in the background always ready to strike and not knowing her motives is almost as bad as knowing her ultimate goal of taking them out.

While Melody’s family is out for blood, Liam’s family is still adjusting to the change in power. Sedric passed the business down to Liam, but with Liam comes Melody and not everyone in the Callahan family is willing to bow down to their newest member adding to their list of problems.

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Family is family, even when you wish they weren’t.

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This series is not your typical romance novel. I personally wouldn’t label it as dark but it’s not cute and fluffy either. The Callahan are truly Ruthless People. They make money from selling drugs and wouldn’t even bat an eye at killing a family member if they felt it was needed. If this was real life and I heard about these people on the news I would be appalled at their story, however it’s not real and while some readers might find subject matter disturbing, I found it entertaining.

The next and final book American Savages is expected to release on March 19th.

*ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
**Quotes above are taken from the ARC version of the book and may differ upon publication.**

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The Innocent Liar

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4 Solid Stars

When Eli’s father asked him for a favor, he ends up with a beautiful but desperate woman begging him for a job. She claims her name is Fiona, but the only thing Eli knows for sure is…she’s lying.

She’s running from an ugly past that’s threating her future when she’s promised safety in the form of job. But when she won’t come clean about her real identity, the owner refuses to hire her.

She was here to disappear. She was here to stay alive long enough to reappear.

Just when Eli starts to feel guilty for turning away someone who obviously needs help, Fiona returns to once again ask for a job. Whether it’s her desperation or just her desire to fight for something she needs, Eli decides to hire her.

Eli hates liars, but the more he’s around Fiona, the more he can’t stop thinking about her. She’s a mystery and the sudden need to not only help her, but possibly solve her problems out weighs his need for the truth. His only request…

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Eli is falling hard and fast. This unknown woman has the power to destroy him and while Fiona might not being lying to him, the amount of secrecy that comes with helping her becomes more than he can handle.

”We can’t build a life on secrets.”

One of my 2015 reading goals is to clean up my kindle. I have no idea why I skipped over reading The Innocent Liar because I loved it! Thank goodness for my goal or otherwise I might have missed out on an awesome read.

Eli is a moody asshole that treats Fiona like crap in the beginning, but once he stops fighting the attraction they feel for each other he becomes a strong alpha hero that really redeems himself. Fiona is an equally great heroine and when you add in the suspenseful plot and the steam, it makes for a great story.