Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays #70


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB @ A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



***


Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)
Hereafter
Hereafter Series #1

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life - or her actual death - she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world...forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.



***Teaser***

"You're fated to help me with my task--I knew it from the first moment I saw you." He shrugged again, but this time the movement looked decidedly less casual. "You have to help me, Amelia. Otherwise I'll have no choice but to trap you here and keep you from every going into the living world again..."


Monday, July 27, 2015

#ShelfLove, #2015HW Review ~ Shadow's Edge ~ J.T. Geissinger

Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1)Shadow's Edge by J.T. Geissinger
Night Prowler #1
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: Won from Braine @TalkSupe
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
Leander McLoughlin is leader of the Ikati, an ancient tribe of beautiful, savage shape-shifters who live hidden in the forests of England. Their survival is rooted in secrecy, a secrecy threatened by the very existence of one raised outside the tribe. Charged with capturing her before she can expose their secret, Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California. The great warrior is prepared for a fight - but not for the effect the courageous young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna Moore spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from an unseen enemy. Now her mother is dead and her father has vanished without a trace, leaving Jenna alone to contend with sudden strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander McLoughlin appears, promising answers to all of her questions, she knows she shouldn't trust him. But their connection is as undeniable as the dangerous destiny drawing her home...



This is a book I was so curious about - I won it and the next two in the series from Braine - and I was excited to read them. Why then, did I wait so long to read it? That is a mystery I can't answer. ;) But I'm thrilled I finally did read it and I won't be waiting so long to continue with the series.

Shadow's Edge puts a spin on cat mythology and secret societies and twists it together into something along the lines of The Unexpected One - ancient enemies created out of misunderstanding.

Jenna has always known she was different from other kids her age, and not only because she was faster and stronger than any of them. She lived life on the run - her family constantly moving from one location to another. Her father disappeared from her life when she was 10 and from that point forward, she watched her mom slowly die while teaching her, "if they find you, run." With her 25th birthday looming, 'they' find her. But she doesn't run.

Leander was raised knowing his place - his duty to his people, the Ikati. He was trained to follow in his father's footsteps. He had to fill the role much sooner than he'd have liked but he takes his position very seriously. He's been watching Jenna for years and comes to find her when her birthday is approaching. Their meeting sets into motion things neither could have ever predicted. And the repercussions for the Ikati will be far reaching.

The lore Geissinger built around the Ikati was fascinating. This group of powerful shifters living in hiding to protect themselves did essentially mandate they remain in the dark ages where women were concerned. That Jenna would chafe under that yoke of confinement after living free her entire life seemed natural. Leander's desire to fulfill all Jenna's wishes really demonstrated his bond with her seeing as how he was steeped in those traditions. That Jenna and Leander had a bond they could sense also added to the story as it was unusual to have a true mate. The side characters introduced, especially Morgan and Christian, were compelling. Morgan, a female Ikati living in a gilded cage, is very interesting. And Christian, the spare dealing with the feelings of being the younger brother of the Alpha would experience is also someone I want to see more of. The prejudice and animosity between the Expurgari (the enemy) and Ikati is engrossing. I like how Geissinger introduced the struggle between the two, how it is woven into the overall plot arch, and how it parallels real life. Jenna's struggle against the restraint of a patriarchy similarly mirror female struggles in real life.

Shadow's Edge was a rich, complex, and captivating introduction to this series. I was flying through the pages despite my lack of sleep. And I'm eager to continue this series.



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beyond the Books ~ Making Memories


Welcome to Beyond the Books. This post was inspired by Lexxie @Unconventional BookviewsUp Close and (Un)conventional, who was inspired by Cuddlebuggery. It's meant to be a way for y'all to get to know me better on a personal level ~ Beyond the Books. ;)


*************

We were in Dallas (that's Texas, y'all) for a week visiting my hubs' family over the last week. (which, by the way, accounts for my radio silence AGAIN...there were wifi issues and we kept getting kicked of the internet so I just gave up) On our last day there, we spent the day at Lewisville Lake with some friends. It was a nice day, but we wouldn't have noticed the heat anyway since we were in the water. 


Being from Texas, my hubs and I spent many a summer day on a boat, in the water, skiing, tubing, and just floating. In Colorado, you don't boat. (okay, some people do...but they're probably 'high' ~ just kidding!) Getting to take our kids out on a boat to enjoy an experience like this meant a lot to us. And the kids had a blast. Our oldest said she didn't realize it would be so much fun since she was envisioning a lake like lakes in Colorado...i.e. ice cold and small. *ha* We did end up getting a little more sun than we wanted, but what's a little sunburn when you're making memories like this?!?





Friday, July 24, 2015

Author Interview & Giveaway ~ Michelle Mankin ~ Outside

Outside, the latest release from Michelle Mankin, released on the 19th. If you missed my review, you can check it out here. Today, I'm sharing my interview with Michelle as well as a couple of teasers from the book. Oh, and I'm also giving away an ebook copy of Outside. ;) Enjoy!



Hey Michelle! Thanks for letting me get inside your head for Outside. :) 


You said these were some of your favorite characters and I could feel your love for them as you told their story. Was there a specific inspiration for Mona and Linc?

As a couple together I love them the most of any I have written so far. My female narrator for my audio books inspired Simone. She sings and she has a beautifully strong steady spirit like Simone.

Can you tell us about your research? 

I watched copious amounts of youtube videos and surf competitions, wrote the rough draft, then flew to Ocean Beach, went up and down the coast to map out the band's footsteps then took a surf lesson. My surf instructor and I really bonded. And yes I have a new passion. Surfing. It is a very spiritual thing.

I adored your surfing lingo and surfing metaphors that were interspersed throughout the story. Did you do research on surfing and then write the story OR did you have the skeleton of the story and then do research to fill it in?

The Outside term I had from the beginning. The word is interspersed throughout the novel. Here let me show you. 

Outside, she drew in a deep breath of air. “I love this time of day. The salt from the ocean smells so good. I don’t know how you stay away.”

But if I was going to venture outside my comfort zone was he the guy I wanted to take a chance on?

Once outside the gate, I hooked a sharp right my feet automatically leading in the direction my heart wanted to go.

 “Come outside and talk to me a minute.” His voice was deep and tempting. “I want to ask you something.” The warmth of his breath tickled against my skin making me shiver.

I took her hand after we stepped outside into the humid air. The steady churn of the ocean was our music now.

When two girlfriends close ranks that usually puts us guys on the outside.”

I couldn’t protect her when she was in there and I was outside.

Leave the rest of the world and their expectations outside.


All metaphors for their relationship that he summarizes... 

... You were like the perfect wave but instead of turning around and swimming toward you with all I had in me I went the opposite way, the wrong way.”

I really liked the way you presented Mona and Linc's story. Was there a particular reason you chose to use the Present-Past-Present, as well as Dual POV format?

I wanted to have the mystery of what broke these two people up who have such obvious chemistry carry you threw the story... as one reviewer said reading with her hand over her eyes knowing the bad is coming...

Music plays a big role in your creative process and your books. Since Mona and Linc's musical styles differ, I was wondering if there is any specific music that served as inspiration or helped you get into your creative place for writing their story.

My audio team is writing the music right now. Kai Kennicott is bluesy ...Wen Ross is the rocker.
The music I listened to while writing is on spotify.

After combining music and surfing, I'm curious as to whether the ocean now speaks to you in the same way music does.

The ocean has always spoke to me. They say the throne room of God is surrounded by a crystal sea. That's where I will be snorkeling with underwater speakers playing rock music.

Chulo...I would be remiss if I didn't mention him. ;) He has so much personality and he's adorable! What made you decide to include him in this story? And what does his name mean?

I have been waiting for a place to fit him in. He and Simone are a natural fit. Chulo is slang for cute in Spanish.

What's next from this series?

Riptide
Patch and Karen
Present Past Present
Present where Outside left off, Past beginning where Simone left the band
More surf, more Ash, Ramone, more ocean beach. more Chulo!!!

Thanks again for taking time for this!

Happy to. You ask great questions. You just reminded me that I love this story. 




***About the Book***

OutsideOutside
Rock Star, Surf, and Second Chances #1
Release Date: July 19, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Synopsis
When handsome California surf god Lincoln Savage suddenly rolls into Ocean Beach like a rogue wave, shy beauty Simone Bianchi's foundation is shaken. No longer under the thumb of her domineering father, she's made a simple quiet life for herself and her fluffy fourteen pound Havanese pup running a surf shop in her hometown of OB. Long ago she gave up her dreams for a future with Linc.

But now the notorious lead singer of the Dirt Dogs has returned, and Simone is reluctant to admit that she's still vulnerable to his killer dimpled smile and easy charm. She finds that although she's stowed away the mementos, it hasn't been as easy to erase the memories of their epic summer love.

It seems he hasn't forgotten, either.

Is the recording contract he's offering merely a pretense?

Or does he have something more in mind?

Does he really believe that they can just pick up where they left off, despite all the bad luck and heartache?

And is she willing to risk everything again for one last chance at love?


***Teaser***

The walls vibrated as soon as the spotlights hit them. Feet stomped. Fans yelled. Some even stood on their chairs. Camera lights clicked on and so did Lincoln. Brightly. He strode to the center of the stage. Confident. Compelling. Controlled. A cosmic force.

He plucked the mic from the stand, glared at the audience daring them to come along with him or get the hell out of the way, before he and the guys launched into a cover of 'Satisfaction' that kicked ass as righteously as the original.

It went uphill from there. Ramon on guitar flashing his flirt. Ash slamming sexy on his drums. Patch firm and steady on bass. And Linc my gorgeous warrior with depths of worth that he still failed to recognize eclipsing them all. The Dirt Dogs might still be a bit rough around the edges but they were undeniably on the ascent. What had started out as something to occupy their time when the surf wasn't up had transformed into a magical melange of Pacific saltwater, California sun and hard rocking in your face attitude.




Picture








michelle mankin.jpg
The best-selling author of the Black Cat Records series of novels.

Romance with subtext.

Reimagining classic stories with sexy rock stars and thought provoking issues.

Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a Brutal Strength centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock 'n roll industry.
Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the Tempest series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there.
Rock stars, myths, and legends collide with paranormal romance in a totally mesmerizing way in the Magic series.
Catch the perfect wave with irresistible surfers in the Rock Stars, Surf and Second Chances series.
When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend as she takes the children to school and back.






a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, July 20, 2015

Brandee's Bookish Babble #5 ~ Just for Grins


Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) So this is my new discussion feature.

***

I found this video on YouTube and I just had to share it. How many of you have had something similar come out of your mouth? *raises hand* ;)





Sound familiar?

I hope you grinned...and maybe even giggled! Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Release Day Review ~ Outside ~ Michelle Mankin

OutsideOutside
Rock Star, Surf, and Second Chances #1
Release Date: July 19, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an advance copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased my own copy on Kindle.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Synopsis
When handsome California surf god Lincoln Savage suddenly rolls into Ocean Beach like a rogue wave, shy beauty Simone Bianchi's foundation is shaken. No longer under the thumb of her domineering father, she's made a simple quiet life for herself and her fluffy fourteen pound Havanese pup running a surf shop in her hometown of OB. Long ago she gave up her dreams for a future with Linc.

But now the notorious lead singer of the Dirt Dogs has returned, and Simone is reluctant to admit that she's still vulnerable to his killer dimpled smile and easy charm. She finds that although she's stowed away the mementos, it hasn't been as easy to erase the memories of their epic summer love.

It seems he hasn't forgotten, either.

Is the recording contract he's offering merely a pretense?

Or does he have something more in mind?

Does he really believe that they can just pick up where they left off, despite all the bad luck and heartache?

And is she willing to risk everything again for one last chance at love?



This may be my favorite from Mankin yet! She said she loved these characters and it shows in her writing. I love them, too.

The way Simone "Mona" and Linc's story is told plays well. It's told in three parts, Present, Past, and Present, and in dual POV. And the way Mankin presents Mona and Linc's backstory was clever. We meet Mona after 15 years have passed following the end of her ill-fated relationship with Linc. She's made a nice life for herself but there's something missing. When Linc shows up on Ocean Beach again, Mona's isn't sure she's ready or even willing to listen to anything he has to say. She'd thought she'd put that part of her life behind her. When we meet Linc, he's grown up. Seeing the difference between his younger self and the man he's become was startling. He's always been a determined man, doing everything in his power to win what he wants. And he's determined to win back the love he stupidly threw away.

Reminiscing over photos of that summer, we learn the story of the summer they fell in love. We see the connection these two forge - it's a powerful love. Their relationship was intense and although they were young when they found one another, their love grew organically and I felt it. The Past section also conveyed the very different people Mona and Linc were that summer and that made the contrast with who they are now that much more stark. Their childhoods affected them both significantly and it showed in their personality and actions. 

Back in the Present, Mona and Linc have to determine if their love is a love that, despite the tempestuous waters they've navigated, will endure. Watching as these two find one another again, grabbing onto the second chance they've been given was awe-inspiring. I happen to believe that things happen for a reason so I like thinking that Mona and Linc had to endure some trials and tribulations to get to a place where they really appreciated what they have.

I adore Mankin's style. Her use of many definitions of 'outside' is clever. I appreciated her surfing metaphors. The fact that Mona and Linc are older characters was also a plus. Add all that with the delivery of a second chance love story with rock stars and surfers and you get an incredibly poignant read!




Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blogger Chick Chat ~ Trouble on Tap ~ Avery Flynn


Trouble on Tap (Sweet Salvation Brewery, #3)
Trouble on Tap
Sweet Salvation Series #3
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms

Synopsis
What fun is life without a little bit of trouble?

Retired supermodel and forever wild child Olivia Sweet is nothing but trouble. The youngest Sweet triplet is back in her hometown, but instead of a triumphant return it's a parade of humiliations. She's broke, homeless and dealing with the fallout from her scumbag ex-boyfriend publishing naked pictures of her to a revenge porn website.

Staid and stalwart veteran Mateo Garcia has seen more trouble than a man ever should in his lifetime. He's gone from pretty boy Marine to a small town police chief with a chip on his should and scars covering the left side of his face. Now his former lover, Olivia, is back in town and living next door.

When the two are forced to work together to fix up the crumbling veterans' center, the sparks fly between the beauty and the man who sees himself as a beast. Not everyone is happy that Olivia is back home though and Mateo has to choose between the town who wants her gone and an uncertain future with a woman who he thinks could never love him...

***Blogger Chick Chat***

Lexxie (@Unconventional Bookviews) and I buddy read all book in the Sweet Salvation series. If you missed our previous chats, you can read them by clicking on the titles - Enemy on Tap and Hollywood on Tap . We've enjoyed our time in Salvation. We hope you do, too!

**

Lexxie: I just had to send you a quick e-mail before I go to bed, about how much I'm loving Olivia and Grumpy-Garcia! They are SO hot together, and I love that this is their second chance - for everything, not just for being together. What do you think so far?

I also really, really hope the mayor will just disappear off the face of the earth.

Me: I finished this morning. I've already had an early morning cry. *sniff* I'm so happy we read this together. 

You know I was worried I wouldn't like this one as much because I didn't feel as connected to Olivia. It felt like we hadn't been exposed to her enough. And we'd never met Mateo. BUT this is my favorite one in the series! Olivia and Mateo are definitely hot together. And as I'm a sucker for second chance stories, this one rocked! You're right - it is a second chance for them...at life, really.

Olivia wanting to make things 'right' for her family, to make the Sweet name bring about more than gossip and snickers, and to prove she is more than meets the eye...all of that just made me adore and respect her.

Mateo's living with his fair share of regrets. And it broke my heart that he felt like he wasn't a person worthy of people depending on him. And ironic considering his job. That he finally realizes (with a little help from a little spitfire of a woman) the error in his thinking made me smile.

Ruby Sue is her usual scene-stealing self in this one. I actually think this is her best performance yet. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your big grumpy-man feelings, but you need to suck it up." That was priceless. Haven't we all needed someone to say "suck it up" at some point in our lives?

They mayor makes my blood boil. I'd been wondering how he kept his office when he made enemies like he does, but Mateo explained it. :) It seems like there is more to his hatred of the Sweets besides that documentary. I wonder if we'll ever find out?

That ending - funny that the girls said Ruby Sue said it was expected of them because I didn't expect it. But it was a nice way to wrap things up.

If I were going to complain about anything, I guess I would have liked the story to be longer - get to see more of the other couples, be in the brewery again, get better acquainted with Luciana. But overall, I was delighted with Trouble on Tap.

What about you?

I definitely agree that Trouble on Tap is a favorite in the series! Even if we didn't know Olivia and Mateo before this story started,I think that both the prologue and their inner dialogues made it very easy to both know, understand and love both of them - flaws and all! And they both needed those second chances, both when it comes to life and when it comes to love - I think that's partly why I loved this so much - apart from how extremely hot their chemistry was ;)

My heart broke for Olivia, the way she just wanted people to leave her family be, and also to make her sisters truly proud of her. It was as if she had put herself in the role of the air-headed model, and because she had done it so well, she had started to believe it herself.

Olivia's ex made me just as mad as the mayor did! And I actually hated that Mateo gave the mayor the heads-up and got him to be all slimy and smarmy in front of a crowd, even if it ultimately helped Olivia in her quest for the veteran center.

Mateo seemed like he had forgotten how strong he was after what happened in Afghanistan, as if he had left a big part of himself, his confidence and his heart behind, and now thought he wasn't really worthy of belonging or being cared for at all. You are right that Olivia and her strong attitude, as well as her capability for real love showed him the error of his ways.

LOL Ruby Sue was the best! And I agree, her little speech to Mateo was priceless.

Do you know if there will be another Sweet Salvation Brewery story? I would love that! Or at least something else happening in Salvation! You are right that we need to know more about Luciana, and definitely about why the mayor is so hell-bent on hating the Sweets... It's almost as if he wanted a Sweet girl for himself, and didn't get her ;)

The ending was cute, but also a little bit abrupt. I could have done with another 20-30 pages before that, I think. So yes, a little longer, to see more of the other couples and the brewery. But like you, I was happy with Trouble on Tap overall.

Olivia and Mateo really did need a second chance at life - what they'd gone through, they both needed a chance to prove to themselves, as well as others, that they were more than their looks and their actions. And I was so happy a second chance at love was part of the deal. :)

Olivia's ex was so slimy. He was almost worse than the mayor because he wanted to capitalize on Olivia. It wasn't enough to have taken so much from her...he wanted to take more. Ugh!

I don't know if there is going to be more in this series. I certainly hope so, too. I don't know that I could handle a book on the mayor but I'd really like to know why he's so sour on the Sweets. And getting to spend more time with the triplets, their men, and the brewery would be even more fun!

I've so enjoyed our buddy reads in Salvation, Lexxie! What are we reading next?!? ;)

I really like that sentence: being more than their looks - because they were both kind of hung up on their looks, but for the completely wrong reasons! There was so much more to both of them than the exterior package, you know?

We totally agree about Olivia's slimy ex! I'm actually happy Mateo went to town on him.

I don't think I could handle a book on the mayor either, but maybe at least a short story about Ruby Sue? She knows everything, right? And she would be a hoot to read about, especially because she explained a little bit about her privileged relationship with the Sweets. My heart broke for her and her pecan pie in Trouble on Tap!

I have loved buddy-reading Salvation with you as well, Brandee. We really do need to find something else we can dig into together.


Friday, July 17, 2015

New Release Review ~ With Visions of Red #2 ~ Trisha Wolfe

With Visions of Red, Book TwoWith Visions of Red #2
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Genre: Adult, Dark Romance, Erotica, Thriller
Source: I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased my own copy once it released.

Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Synopsis
The UNSUB has made contact.

After a rapid string of grisly murders shakes the usually peaceful city of Arlington, Virginia, the sadistic killings of young women lull into a deceptive calm. Agent Sadie Bonds knows the terror isn't over; serial killers don't stop until caught.

And this sadist has targeted the profiler, revealing pieces of her dark past and weaving her secrets into each gruesome crime scene. Is the killer someone from Sadie's past, her present? Or is he part of a fated future she brought on herself? The answer lies withing the riddle of the copycat killings, ones mimicked after the infamous Blood Countess.

As tension brews in the department awaiting the UNSUB's next move, Sadie's more on edge--her deviant cravings for the possible perpetrator have ratcheted out of control. She needs the feel of Colton's ropes binding her, sheltering her from stark reality.

Only Colton Reed has his own twisted secrets that threaten to unravel not only Sadie as they come to light, but the UNSUB's carefully constructed web now entangling both the profiler and her sexy bondage rigger.

Is Sadie too close to this case to be objective, or is the UNSUB closer to her than she ever imagined...



This second installment was every bit as suspenseful as its predecessor. With the UNSUB silent for the moment, with the exception of text messages, new details revealed about Sadie and Colton, questionable behavior from characters, and an addition to the cast, the question of the identity of the UNSUB is every bit as muddled - at least for me - as it was. 

I thrilled at learning a little more about Sadie and as these details where revealed I realized I didn't know her as well as I thought. The revelations about Colton were heartbreaking but I so appreciated getting some clarity about this enigma of a man.

Sadie and Colton make great strides in deepening their bond. The alternating POV once again added so much depth to the characters. Getting glimpses into their thinking enabled me to understand where they were coming from - and where they were headed - in relation to each other.

The tension created with the addition of Detective Carson to the task force along with Detective Quinn's odd behavior have me twisted in knots over what is going on and what's coming next. The UNSUB is getting brazen - well more so - in his actions and I'm worried for Sadie and Colton. As for who he is? Well, I have a few theories. We'll see if my theories pan out. I kinda feel like I might be off-base.

The only thing I missed in this installment was the profiling/procedural element. As I reflect, it was there but it wasn't as focal as it was in book one. However, I still couldn't put this down - I was enthralled. Ms. Wolfe continues to lead me down a dark, twisty path. How long do I have to wait for all the answers, Ms. Wolfe?!?